If you’ve ever had an ambitious idea or a grand plan, but had no idea how to make it happen then Incredible Things is everything that you’ve been waiting for.
Artist David Shearing is known for creating unique experiences that draw you in and transport you to another world. His Weather Café, which popped up on The Headrow in 2016, created a tranquil oasis that served tea with a healthy dose of whatever the weather was doing that day – from a light breeze with fans suspended from the ceiling to a refreshing mist greeting you on arrival set to a soundtrack of stories of everyday life in Leeds.
Incredible Things is his latest project and he knows a thing or two about grand plans. The vision for Incredible Things is to create 100 incredible experiences both for and with communities across the city. It could be a moment of spectacle parading through the streets of Seacroft, a secret roof top garden party overlooking Little London or a random, yet carefully choreographed, act of kindness in Victoria Gate Shopping Centre.
David describes the project says: “This is an ambitious public artwork, inviting the audience to reconsider their relationship with each other and their environments, asking us to look again at Leeds and challenge our perceptions of the city that we think we know. Some will be hidden in the bowels of the city. Some will be riots of culture and colour taking over the streets. Some will small and intimate, where others will be for the entire city. All of them will be created in close collaboration with the people of Leeds.”
In the Summer of 2017, working with communities from Holbeck Working Men’s Club, LS14 Trust, Yorkshire Building Society, St Nicholas Church & Hall, Leeds Print Workshop, Get Away Girls, Young at Arts, Shine, Oblong, Gipsil, Space2, Chapel FM, Gipton Together, David created three Incredible Things which will form part of the research & development and the blueprint for 100 Incredible Things.
A roof top supper club took place on top of Yorkshire Building Society’s Leeds HQ, a building normally off limits to the public, where guests were invited to share their views and stories of the city whilst being introduced to an entirely new perspective. A pop-up café and florist appeared in Leeds Markets where people shared their incredible experiences of the city and were rewarded with a rose. Neighbours in Gipton & Seacroft, communities which exist side by side but never mix, came together in a village hall to eat, drink and dance.
Leeds is a city of many communities all very different in style, identity and culture. It is these incredible communities who define the city and give it an attitude that is distinctly Leeds. What better way to thank them than with an incredible experience of their own making?
Photos by Tom Joy