Oatlands Community Centre, Harrogate, 2022
Let's Create Jubilee Fund, Arts Council England
We are so thrilled to have been awarded funding to run a community art project, celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this June.
Our project is designed to engage widely and inter-generationally with local residents, culminating in the creation of a ceramic tree mural for the outside of Oatlands Community Centre.
The tree design was chosen for its symbolism, with Oatlands Community Centre being rooted firmly at the heart of the community.
The Centre and its volunteers are the supportive framework; the roots, trunk and branches, but can only grow leaves and flourish through the engagement of the community and their sense of ownership. This can be achieved through hands-on, community workshops using this tactile and historical material.
History informing artwork
Oatlands Community Centre is located in a previous Methodist Church on Mount Street, which was the old access road leading into the Harrogate Red Brick Company, 1860-1936, giving the area its previous name ‘Brickfields’. The church was built in 1883 from bricks made by the local brick workers and fired at the Red Brick Company site at the bottom of the road, this is also when the area became known as ‘Oatlands’.
Anyone who gardens locally, knows that there is an abundant seam of iron rich brick clay in the area. Although it can cause a headache for gardeners, without this natural resource the area would not have developed as it did, and by using this clay for the mural we celebrate the historical industrial roots of the Oatlands community. For residents to get their hands into the clay that shaped their area (and is what many of their houses are built from) gives a sense of connection to the earth directly under their feet and provides a collective history, a strong foundation on which to build.
“The Let’s Create Jubilee Fund is a wonderful example of our ambition to give everyone the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts, culture and creativity – made possible thanks to National Lottery players. This June, we’ll see communities across England coming together to celebrate a historic milestone for this country. I’m excited to see these projects brought to life in villages, towns and cities across the country as our wonderfully creative communities celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England