Last week’s Block Party was a coming together of community, the arts and business to create a fabulous opportunity for celebration and artistic expression.
On Friday October 20 over 1,500 locals descended on Atchison Lane for a unique event. Where else but the Block Party would you find artists showing their works and explaining their process at open studios, live music, food trucks, a craft market with items made by local students, and roaming dinosaurs to thrill kids and adults alike? And all supported by the philanthropic arm of one of St Leonards’ largest landholders, the TWT Property Group.
Celebrating the 7th staging of the Block Party (usually an annual event but delayed for the last four years by the pandemic), the community came out in force to show their support for local artists and their desire to consume creative content in their own backyard.
As a new book unveiled at the Block Party states,
Today it is universally accepted that a successful urban environment cannot be a cultural desert. Enterprising developers recognise that people want to live and work in places where the streets are alive after dark and on weekends.
In addressing this growing need, TWT Property Group collaborated with renowned arts agency Brand X to create a genuine creative precinct in St Leonards. Since 2014, the Creative Precinct they have created within the walls of empty commercial buildings has facilitated over 800 artists and creative businesses from the visual, performing, music and film disciplines.
Mayor Zoe Baker (pictured above with Brand X director James Winter) opened proceedings by officially unveiling the precinct’s newest mural – a large scale work by Helen Proctor.
Kids queued for face painting and balloon art, painted their own ceramics with Pinta Crafts and squealed with delight when the dinosaurs and divers from Erth Australia arrived later in the evening.
And then of course there was the art. The community were treated to immersive design from Ghosted, live painting with blind artist Luke Abdallah and the opportunity to meet artists such as Jeff Fan, Oliver Watts, Sydney Pemberton, Debbie Mackinnon and Sharon Candy to name a few.
It’s clear from the response from the local community, the creative community as well as the business participants, that this kind of event brings these worlds together in a harmonious, fun and invigorating manner. As Brand X Director James Winter wrote in ‘No Ordinary Block’ about the St Leonards Creative Precinct:
The artists love it. The community loves it. It brings in life, vitality and a sense of connectedness, making creative endeavour part of the ecology of the area.