June 2016 will see Blackburn residents and visitors alike rediscover the town when female artists from across the UK bring new life to forgotten walls around Blackburn town centre.
B.O.W 2016 will be Blackburn’s first walking street arts festival, curated by Blackburn born artist Hayley Welsh, who creates large scale street art and exhibits internationally.
The festival is part of Urban Room Blackburn organised by Blackburn is Open, which is now in its third year.
Running from Monday, June 20 to Tuesday, July 26, Urban Room is a celebration of art, architecture and public space with a focus on experimentation and innovative practices that aims to inspire new ways of thinking about the town centre.
Hayley’s vision started in 2014 when she first created a piece of street art on Blackburn’s Exchange building ‘Be happy in this moment. This moment is your life’. ‘
She said: “While I was painting, people were stopping and talking about the artwork. The creative conservations between held strangers was really special. Whether people liked or didn’t like the painting, didn’t really matter, it was just the engaging and coming together of communities I loved, and street art is so special to be able to make those moments happen.”
From then the response to the live painting and engagement from the local residents, inspired Hayley to create more public art within Blackburn, but this time on a larger scale, inviting five other female artists from across the UK to join her. “This is a chance for people who have lived here their whole life to see Blackburn in a new light and colour. I really want people to be proud of where they live and what the beauty of Blackburn, and show the work of incredible female street artists. There aren’t many female street artists out there – the street art scene is still quite a masculine genre, so we want to inspire girls and show them that we can climb scaffolding and ride scizzorlifts, and create large things too.”
As a result B.O.W will see six street artists creating art over six days, followed by a walking tour.
Running alongside it will be the ‘Limited Edition’ exhibition, curated by local female artist Alexandra Gallagher.
It will showcase a range of female talents from across the globe with a variety of themes and approaches.
B.O.W will run from Monday, June 20 – Saturday, June 25.
The walking tour will take place at 3pm on Saturday, 25th June with a closing celebration at 5pm.