Rotherham’s town centre, in the UK, transformed into an urban art playground last month with an array of features designed to bring out the young people of the town for a three day interactive experience.
Urban art delivery team Art of Protest Projects teamed up with Rotherham Council andsome of Team GB’s best skaters and BMXers to deliver the three day festival UPLIFT which saw a pop up skate park, a massive half pipe, live music and tons of incredible art splashed all over thestreets of Rotherham. As a kick off launch event for Children’s Capital of Culture, this event wasdesigned to connect the community of Rotherham in a way that’s never been done before.
UPLIFT festival saw a fusion of urban art colliding with Team GB’s finest athletes – Alex Hallford, JordanThackeray and Jack Maguire. Stepping back in time to an early 90’s grunge skate scene, the art created for UPLIFT was supported with neon geometrics, 3D lines and shapes and unique patternsgiving the appearance of motion. The application of the art brought the streets to life in the form ofstreet furniture, stickers, large vinyls, floor coverings, and even a phone box takeover! This high impact and colourful backdrop elevated this visually stunning experience and highlighted the desire of Rotherham’s young people to immerse themselves in the creative and physical outlet that has beenlacking from the area.
With hands-on graffiti workshops delivered by Tom Jackson of highly acclaimed street artist duo Static, as well as interactive skate and cycle workshops designed to engage andinspire, this event was a massive success and serves as a model of how areas can be inspired toconnect with art and physical activity through a curated environment. UPLIFT saw such a wonderfuland diverse group of festival goers, and we even had the privilege of meeting Sonny, a child withdouble leg prosthetics who absolutely crushed it on their skateboard, inspiring everyone in the areaand blowing us away with their talent and unstoppable spirit! This event saw a mega splash of colour,design and movement delivered in a space that desperately wanted new and fresh energy.
Jeff Clark, director of Art of Protest Projects said “Being able to bring new, vibrant energy toRotherham through the fusion of street art and urban skating and cycling is beyond exciting to us! Featuring Team GB’s incredibly talented crew who are hopefully making their way to the Olympics is aonce in a lifetime chance and we are just so thrilled to be able to bring this to the younger generationof Rotherham.
”Claire McCullen brought her son to UPLIFT’s festival and said “What an incredible and unexpectedexperience we had in the town centre creating graffiti art at the workshops and getting one to onesessions with some of the professional skaters. When my son met Alex and Jordan, he was just soblown away by their skills, it has inspired him to get a skateboard and start a new hobby!
”Pro BMXer Jack Mcquire of Team GB’s said “It’s such a privilege to get to come out and skate withyoung kids and watch them become inspired and take chances. We all start somewhere and when Isee some kids connect with the bike or board, it fills me full of joy because I remember being that kidand making those connections. It kept me out of trouble and gave me a pathway to do somethingamazing.”