Art gets in action with pop up studio at Ankerside

May 7, 2015

SHOPPERS got stuck in to creating their own works of art on Saturday at a pop-up studio in Ankerside Shopping Centre.

The one-day event encouraged visitors to come up with their own masterpieces, led by local art tutor Andy Nash, which will then form part of an exhibition at the Tamworth mall  later this month.

It is part of Tamworth Council’s I Am Visual Art project, which is sponsored by Ankerside Centre and focuses on images that depict the area and the people who live there.

Andy, a 52-year-old sculptor from Glascote, is South Staffordshire College’s art and design course leader and was on hand to give expert advice. He said: “It’s great to do this and come somewhere with such a high footfall and get so many people buzzing about being creative.

“We split the unit up so we had a beginners’ table plus an intermediate area,  and then an advanced group who were pretty much just getting on with it themselves.

“We’ve also got a mosaic on the go,  which is a huge image that has been cut up into pieces. Everyone who comes can paint one of the squares or use whatever they want, and then it will all get put back together for the final exhibition.

“Parents are loving it because it gives the kids so much confidence. Once the exhibition is up and running hopefully that will encourage even more people to the Ankerside as well.”

The collaborative piece depicts images associated with Tamworth, such as the legendary King Offa and a pair of the area’s famous Sandyback pigs.

One family happy to pick up paintbrushes was the Smiths from Two Gates in Tamworth. Mum Mandy shops at Ankerside Centre most weekends so was delighted to find something to keep 11-year-old Steven, Jack, aged nine, and Thomas, six, entertained during this visit.

She said: “They’re really enjoying it. They’ve all done a piece of the mosaic and Thomas has done a picture of his face too.

“Jack especially loves art and making things with his hands but I’m not having a go as I really can’t draw. They’ve got all the felt tips out and they’re having a go with some paints too.”

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager Pete Barber said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the I Am Visual Art project and I have enjoyed seeing al, the work that has been created at the pop-up studio by Andy and his team.

“We believe that Ankerside Shopping Centre is at the heart of Tamworth’s community, and this project is a great way of bringing families together to celebrate the town’s achievements.”

I Am Visual Art forms part of the wider I Am Tamworth project being run by Hannah McKenzie, the council’s Art, Events and Marketing Co-ordinator. She said: “The event has been quite busy with a steady flow of visitors and we’ve had people of all abilities, which is what we wanted.

“We’re hoping all age groups will take part too, as  it’s aimed at anyone from two to 102 – anyone who can pick up a pencil.”

Saturday’s drop-in event aimed to provide a platform for hidden local talent and encourage people to have confidence in their work as well as helping them prepare it for exhibition.

As well as getting expert guidance from Andrew on their own submissions, shoppers were asked to add their creative input to a collaborative piece that will go on display in the town.

Any budding artists who missed the event but would still like their work to be considered for the exhibition can leave their submissions, a maximum of two each, at Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on Corporation Road, any time before May 23.

Work needs to be a maximum size of A1 and must be a 2D format – but any medium will be considered such as drawing, painting, printing and photography.

The final show will be entitled Tamworth – The People and The Place, so artworks need to reflect that theme and details of the artist’s name, the title, media used, address, phone number and email must all be included on the back of the piece.

Hannah added: “When we’ve selected those that will go in the exhibition they will be on display, along with the collaborative mosaic, from May 30 to June 12 at two different sites within Ankerside Shopping Centre.

More about the project by following #iamvisualart on social media or visiting