Plymouth Art Weekender: Duped in to it

by Jess Holliland
paw17 Duped in to it. Photo credit Mat Martin

paw17 Shed on Wheels – Photo credit Mat Martin

Plymouth Art Weekender was a multi-disciplinary artistic extravaganza that exploded across the city last weekend. Over 52 venues hosted 260 artists – PAW was about as easy to miss as their electric bubblegum pink brand!

This year was the most expansive and inclusive we’ve seen yet, coming out all guns blazing for art with Field Notes at the head and a team of dedicated VAP activators on the ground. There were collaborations with iconic companies like City Bus, billboard exhibitions, public space sound pieces, pop-up interactive installations in the city centre, street performers across the city, workshops in everything you can imagine and of course, some breath taking and inspiring exhibitions in the gallery spaces we all know and love.

In fact, there was so much variation that it’s entirely possible you joined in with the art weekender without realising it. So lets have a look at some of the lesser spotted Art Weekender events and see if we can trigger your memory…

Did you catch a bus to town on Saturday morning? Was there a strange kerfuffle happening towards the back? Perhaps a strange lady making badges…a boisterous bunch reading and singing? Maybe the upstairs floor was full of pink balloons for some reason you couldn’t fathom. You’ve been PAW’d. VAP activators took over the top deck of several CityBus routes on Saturday and carried artistic bedlam with them.

City bus: Plymouth Art Weekender. Photo Credit Mat Martin

City bus: Plymouth Art Weekender. Photo Credit Mat Martin

BankRUN Plymouth Art Weekender photo credit Mat Martin

BankRUN Plymouth Art Weekender photo credit Mat Martin

Outside BHS there stood an unassuming plywood box…you might have noticed the queue. BankRUN dispensed bank notes from a freestanding ‘cash machine’. An analogue interactive screen allowing people to chose the denomination and a radical economist featured on their notes. BankRUN was marking the 10-year anniversary of the run on Northern Rock Bank, the first British bank in 150 years to fail due to a bank run. “Give my back my tuppence!”

Maybe you walked through the civic square on your way to get lunch and noticed a person reading aloud on a bench – a strange thing to happen in your city, you might have thought. Park Bench Readers was Bram Thomas Arnold’s brainchild, a way to encourage us to look away from our screens and back to the page. It wasn’t just him reading either; did you find yourself glancing at those books tethered to the bench?

There was a widespread political unrest in the city with individual placards protesting such vital issues as cold legs, blue things, cats and, of course, warning of disaster and chaos or impending cups of tea. These portentous creations were part of the commissioned work from We the People are the Work by Peter Liversidge, which will continue on into November.

Hopefully you’ve begun to realise how you were duped, hoodwinked and beguiled in to being part of the biggest art event in 2017 this side of Bristol. There was so much more that you may have become party to – make sure you keep your eyes opened for reviews, write ups and follow ups! Be prepared and be informed because Plymouth Art Weekender will be back with all it’s crafty tricks to make you love your city again this time next year!

Sign Paintings - Plymouth Art Weekender Photo Credit Mat Martin

Sign Paintings – Plymouth Art Weekender Photo Credit Jess Holliland