Leeds loops the Loop as new arts fair promotes creativity

The Loop Arts Fair, which is launching in Leeds this month, will see a host of illustrators, designers and artists transform a city-centre mill into working studios, print shops, publishing houses and workshops.

The event has been conceived by Jay Cover of consultancy Nous Vous, who has worked alongside Neil Owen of not-for-profit arts organisation Test Space, Laura Wellington of Duke Studios and PR consultancy Anita Morris Associates.

Cover says, ’It’s difficult to pin down exactly where the idea came from. It could be put down as a response to the lack of events going on in the North of this nature, especially Leeds. There’s lots of creative talent up here, but we felt there needed to be more national-scale events going on. It could also be a backwards kind of laziness not wanting to wander down South to go to events like this.’

Loop which runs from 17-19 June at Marshalls Mill in Leeds will be split into three strands: Work, Talk and Play. Work will feature open studios from artists and designers including design consultancy Qubik, Analogue Books and illustrator Lizzy Stewart.

Artist and illustrator Sister Arrow will be creating a participatory handmade greenhouse, with the audience creating plants to contribute to the installation, while Matt Hodson will be generating poetry and teaching calligraphy techniques at the same time. Publishing company Yoke will be creating what Cover says will be ’a completely interactive space, encouraging people to play with pretty much everything in the space all physical, not digital’.

The Talk strand will feature a full conference programme on 17 June, while the Play strand will run as a series of events, including music, live art and interactive activities. On 17 June the Best Joined Up collective will host a live drawing event, while on 19 June Kibbo-Kift will run an event featuring live music and spoken word performances.

The identity and promotional material for the Loop is being produced by Leeds-based consultancy Catalogue. The consultancy has created the identity and website for Loop (pictured) and is set to work on further promotional material ahead of the launch of the fair.

Catalogue was commissioned to create the work by Cover. Catalogue designer Tom Pratt says, ’We’d been talking to Jay for a while about the event and what our involvement might be and it developed from there.’

Pratt says Catalogue wanted an identity that was based around the name Loop (which comes from the Leeds city centre loop road), but which ’wasn’t too obvious’.

He adds, ’We’ve used text around the page in the collateral to create a loop and we’ve also developed a logotype which features both a loop and the letter “L”. We decided very early on that we didn’t want to use obvious loops we wanted to work with the loop in a way that wasn’t too explicit.’

Cover says the aim is for the festival to become an annual event. He says, ’We’ve had so much interest and support I’m sure we can make this happen again.

’I think what we will do is collaborate more throughout the year and do some Loop testbed events to see what we think would work at next year’s event and see if we can just make it bigger and better potentially with more international contributors rather than just UK-based creatives.’

About the Loop Arts Fair

  • The Loop Arts Fair runs from 17-19 June at Marshalls Mill in Leeds
  • The Work strand will feature open studios from artists and designers
  • The Talk strand will be based around a full conference programme
  • The Play strand will feature events such as live art and music

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