New Art Trail Asks What Makes Bury St Edmunds Tick?

300 local artists have produced artwork on 'what makes Bury St Edmunds tick' on 10-inch pizza boxes that will be displayed across the town from July to September.

Art and culture are playing a key role in Bury St Edmunds post pandemic summer recovery programme. 

In their latest project, Art Around Town, West Suffolk Council gave some 300 local artists a 10-inch pizza box and invited them to ‘think outside the box’ and transform it in their own style to demonstrate what they think makes the town tick. The artworks will be displayed in the windows of shops and public buildings in the town centre from 1 July until 30 September. 

The artists were invited to create artworks inspired by the characters, landmarks and best kept secrets that give Bury St Edmunds its unique feel. They are being installed in some unexpected locations such as the aviaries in the Abbey Gardens.   

To find out where you can see the pizza box artworks, download the map below, pick up a free leaflet from The Apex or other venues around town and scan the QR code, or visit the Art Around Town Instagram page @artaroundtownbury, where you can also find out more about the artists and the stories behind their boxes. 

Creative people of all ages are able to collect a free pizza box from The Apex venue to create their own design at home and return it before 19 July. The finished boxes will be displayed in the huge first floor lounge windows at The Apex.

Cllr Jo Rayner, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture at West Suffolk Council said: “The Art Around Town trail is a great way to encourage people into and around the town centre shops and other businesses, some of which they may not have visited before. But it is also much more than that. Art is about being expressive and can be part of our individual recovery following the pandemic that it has impacted and altered all of our lives. That is why I’m delighted, that as well as viewing the trail, we are also able to encourage people of all ability and ages, to create their own design to be exhibited at The Apex and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”

The Grey Lady by artist Hannah Everden is pictured above.

The Art Around Town project has been set up in association with the Moments contemporary art exhibition, running until 30 September at Moyse’s Hall Museum.  It is supported by local restaurant, ICE and Our Bury St Edmunds BID (Business Improvement District).

Artists and their locations

Five artists have created work for installation at the aviaries in Abbey Gardens. Elizabeth Cooke, who usually makes metal steel sculptures, is fascinated by birds and has spent time at the aviary trying to see things from the birds’ perspective. Other artists include Nicola Coe who often uses natural found materials to make intricate nest structures, and Mandy Renton who describes herself as a budgie lover and parrot fan. She works in oils to make resplendent portraits of birds in full ‘floofiness’. 

Nutshell Pub by artist Lizzie Jackson is pictured above.

Art Branches is an organisation which takes inspiration from the natural environment to promote wellbeing and has been making art with people recovering from mental health issues in the Abbey Gardens. The group held an art making and picnic day in the gardens to make their boxes, which will be exhibited in the shop and café.

Marcia, the owner of Smoking Monkey Antiques on St John’s Street is extending her window space to accommodate the pizza boxes. A regular customer, artist Jamie Andrews, took just two hours to melt 20 plastic dolls into his box, described as ‘Dolly Mixture’ by one of the Instagram followers.  Off the Press Collective is an eco-friendly printmaking studio in Bury St Edmunds. They have a history of collaborative projects with the Abbey Gate cinema and will be filling their windows with screen printed boxes. 

Originally from Bury St Edmunds, visual artist, songwriter and singer Kate Jackson was the front woman of the Long Blondes. Kate’s pizza box is currently exhibited in the undercroft of Moyse’s Hall, while her artist mother, Lizzie is making a piece for Denny Bros. Stephen and Lorna Kirin work collaboratively but also have their individual art practices. They have made a four-box installation, which can also be viewed at Moyse’s Hall. 

West Suffolk College art students took away around 60 pizza boxes to work on independently at home. Their work is starting to emerge on Instagram with exceptional and highly original work, often with new perspectives on old stories. The artworks will be installed in a prominent town centre location.

For more information visit Art Around Town.

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