I can’t resist posting this image of the Valentine’s Trail which I created with Pat Wilson Smith and Adam De Ville as part of the Prosper intitiative.
The wonderful life-size wooden people were designed by Pat Wilson Smith, and as you can see from the photograph, they certainly succeeded in attracting the attention of passers-by.
Each board had information about a local business and local initiative and each led the viewer on to another further along the trail.
We learned a lot from the experiment, and next time could certainly do it bigger and better. But rather than praising what we did do to the skies, here is feedback from one of the shopowners, which I hope speaks for itself:
“The general idea of setting up trails of this sort to guide some people off
their beaten track and their comfort zone is very good for the city centres
(a bit like ‘google something with your feet for a change’). Giving visitors
(and residents) a real authentic experience of a place and its unique
products and history in a broad sense is what will be the future of City
centres I believe, leaving the cheap and standardised shopping for on-line.”
I am excited to be part of a team working on the Prosper initiative, a scheme to build cultural capacity in East Kent by offering support and investment to discover how working together and the power of the arts can enable East Kent and its people to thrive. It is backed and run by Workers of Art, The Map Consortium and the Canterbury Festival. There are about fifteen other investigations within Prosper, ranging from using virtual technology to explore Ramsgate Tunnels to producing a mobile museum to make public the Beaney’s stored collections.
For our investigation, I am working with artists I had never met before – Pat Wilson Smith, Adam De Ville and Reece de Ville – to explore the possibilities of a living tourist information station that will give residents and visitors an alternative view of the city from that provided in the usual brochures and websites.
We will be holding a day of action to gather stories and information:
Bean Head cafe, Burgate, Canterbury
15 December, 11am to 3pm.
Please come and join us to tell us your Canterbury Tale!