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National recognition for project to make city streets less grey, East Street Arts

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An innovative urban arts project to make the streets of Leeds city centre a little less grey has received national recognition.

A City Less Grey, a joint project from East Street Arts and LeedsBID, took the award for best use of arts, culture or sport in placemaking at the Planning Awards in London.

Launched in November 2016, the project kick-started an exhilarating time for urban art in Leeds by injecting colour into corners of the city, and also brought the UK’s tallest piece of street art to Leeds.

The project began on Kirkgate, the oldest street in Leeds, on the hoarding covering the collapsed First White Cloth Hall. Artwork at Sovereign Square, a second piece on Kirkgate, Platform and Vicar Lane followed. Artists Kasia Breska, Jo Peel, Joe Dickenson, NOMAD Clan and Mel Holmes were each commissioned to deliver a bespoke piece of work to transform a site in their own unique style, with carefully considered emotional connection and identity, and the incorporation of poignant references to the local environment.

Initiated by East Street Arts and funded by LeedsBID, the project involved collaboration between arts, community, and business partners.

LeedsBID Chief Executive, Andrew Cooper, said: “We are delighted A City Less Grey has received this prestigious award and national recognition for all it has achieved. This project has vastly enhanced the city’s ambience, showcased its personality and welcome, and has now become a best-practice example in placemaking/shaping - as well as putting Leeds on the map as home to the UK’s tallest piece of street art."

Karen Watson, artistic director and founder of East Street Arts, said: “Each and every artist we worked with brought something really special to the project and they’ve all helped to bring the city to life with colour and creativity; it’s a fantastic example of collaboration at its best. We’re dedicated to expanding the project further and look forward to bringing even more public art to the city in the near future.”