ArtRun | July 2011

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ArtRun run, no race to be run but boy what fun

Leeds is a city carved into numerous unmanageable chunks by a road system that is, to drivers completely useless and to pedestrians a series of dangerous and time consuming negotiations. Just how this can affect the arts organisations of Leeds became painfully apparent in the muscles of the participants in the ArtRun on Saturday 9th July. Not only did the intrepid six, plus a family of 3 cyclists, have to negotiate busy pedestrian areas and midday traffic as they traced a path between various Leeds art venues, but also the heat of the noon day sun and the steep hills rising out of town. The ArtRun was not a race but it was most definitely a bit of fun hopefully with a serious intention.

The ArtRun began life as a simple idea; the commitment to, and execution of, an idea. For Debs, the originator of the concept, this meant using a physical activity to consider what it means to be an artist. Debs is not an artist, but neither is she a runner so both aspects of the idea were essentially a meditation on perseverance. If a person can paint they are a painter but can they be considered an artist, if a person runs they are a runner but are an athelete? I am not going to attempt to answer such questions here but I am going to posit a theory that the neccesary element in the equation is dedication and the desire to continually be striving to reach the next level, whatever that level may be. I notice that in writing about this project a certain idiosyncracy has crept in on my part. Whilst for Debs the ArtRun has remained the Art Run for me the two words have crept together and are now, in my mind, inseparable. In considering this the ArtRun idea then expanded and became connected in a very physical sense to the matter of it’s subject – Art

I would like, at this point, to very specifically thank Adam Young at Indivisble, Karen Watson and Jon Wakeman at East Street Arts, Kayleigh Morris and Rian Treanor of ENJOY Studios and John Slemensek, Chris Woodward and Annie Nelson of Woolgather. Not just for opening their venues to the public, and our runners, for the afternoon but also for their wholehearted engagement with what must have seemed at the outset like a fairly whimsical project. In the process of altering the structure of the event as we went along the physical environment of the Basement receded into the background becoming no more than a starting line; it was at this point that the ArtRun became a more outward looking project. Despite my inability to make it around the venues myself, due to the realisation that I had left my front door open at home and had to return to shut it, the runners and a healthy number of people did make it and enjoyed the experience. I did thankfully make the end event at Woolgather HQ as did a large number of the days participants. The ensuing Woolgather olympics had everybody taking part in egg and spoon races, swingball, three-legged races and round the block relays proving that whilst they may not have the grandeur and scale of London 2012 they make up for it with their ability to get everybody involved.

In finishing Debs and I would also like to thank Adam Ogilvie, Jayne Rodgers, Emma Bolland, Dave Cotton and Lucy Meredith and Brian (the mono-named enigma) of UrbanSprawl who all completed the 10k run and raised some money for Urban Sprawl in the process.

To everyone who came along to the venues and took part in any way, shape or form on the day THANK YOU ALL! and we hope to see you again soon.

Bruce Davies | July 2011

 In Memoriam Brian 

In Memoriam Brian