Exciting new Burnley venue showcases area's creative talent
The first ever 'Platform Project' shone a longed-for spotlight on a selection of hugely-talented Burnley artists at the weekend.
The Creative Arts – Tattoo and Art Gallery in lower St James' Street was packed out across two nights for an event dedicated to showcasing the area's best original talent.
Cain Bramley and Natalie George opened the studio last year and have spent the past six weeks pouring everything they have into transforming its back room into a bar and live performance space.
Their aim is to forge an inclusive artistic hub where emerging and established locals artists can gain invaluable experience performing in front of appreciative audiences.
And the inaugural Platform Project did just that, with a vast array of live music, spoken word and open mic performances combined with art and photographic exhibitions.
Natalie said her and Cain had been truly overwhelmed by the turnout along with the feedback they had received.
"It went better than we could ever have imagined. Both nights were amazing. We were blown away. Everybody that played said the sound setup was one of the best they had ever played with.
"People have been asking us when the next one is going to be. All the feedback has been so positive. Me and Cain were looking through all the comments on Sunday and we just sat there crying; tears of joy."
Lower St James' Street is currently subject to a council regeneration and heritage funding scheme, aimed to increase creativity and culture in the area.
Burnley is among 14 towns that will share a £18.7m pot allocated to the North-West through the Historic High Street fund.
Burnley Council has put forward a bid for £1.3m and although the exact figure will not be announced until next month, there will definitely be a sum of money going towards revitalising this neglected area of the town centre.
Natalie is proud that Creative Arts – Tattoo and Art Gallery is already part of this revitalisation and now wants to carry on shining a light on the town's often unheralded creative forces.
"We're actually putting in an Arts Council bid in January because this is something we really believe in. Yes, we want to give artists a platform to perform but we also want to be paying them. It's not fair to have them performing for free.
"The town centre manager came around on Friday before the first act went on and was happy with what we're doing. We want to work with the council and help re-energise this area."
Natalie is keen to stress that this space is not just about live music but about all the arts. In fact, one local artist - Alexandra Louise Austin Blundell - ended up selling one of her works for £80 at the Platform Project after bringing it in for Natalie to look at.
"This is what the Platform Project is all about. There was such an incredible variety of talent on show across the weekend. There is so much talent across the area full stop. We want to hear from everybody. We want to put on workshops, exhibit people's work. There is so much we can do.
"We're hoping to hold another Platform Project this month. Our aim is to make it a monthly event; the audience is there and we know there's no shortage of local talent.
"We're also holding a competition for local creative designers to design a logo for the Platform Project and we'll be asking for help from UCLan for this."
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Artists who performed over the weekend were:
Spoken word/Poetry – Amy Lee Tempest, Fil Evo.
Solo artists – Anna Malindi, Lissy Nicholson, Marcus Exhale, Elterial Avelorn (compere), MeLeon, Karlow, Seek The Northerner.
Bands – Bulbeater, Design Rewind, The Kanes, ScrEEEch Rock, All Hail Hyena.
DJs –Paddy Knowles, DJ Kingy, Brodie Doyle, Don Birdman.
Painters/illustrators/creators/exhibitors – Nick Huck, Lisa Robertson, Lea Z, James Hayes, Lindsey Walsh, Beautify Life, Alexandra Louise Austin Blundell, Bodie, Ted Lynch, Kieron Rush AKA Random Sketcher, Andrew Sutcliffe (R2Art).
Media team – Jay Stansfield, Joe Lord, Rebecca Hughes.
Sound Engineer – Joseph Rainbird
Creative helpers – Martin Gornall, Ashleigh George, Ceri Jane Carmichel, Sam Green (Beneath The Bark), Karl Robinson (Groundwork Direct).