24 acts in six days adds up to the first Live For St Leonard’s music festival fundraiser

Jonny & The Dunebugs: Topping the Live For St Leonard’s bill on September 24

THE debut Live For St Leonard’s fundraising music festival will take place over six days as part of York Food & Drink Festival 2021.

This charity event in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice will feature 24 live performances by musicians from York and the surrounding area, such as The Y Street Band, KissKissKill, Leather ’O, The Moths, Jonny & The Dunebugs and The Rusty Pegs.

The festivities will be held between 5pm and 9pm each evening in the event marquee in Parliament Street, where food and drink will be available from Food & Drink Festival participants.

Penny Whispers’ Harry Bullen and Terri-Ann Prendergast , who will be performing on September 23

All the live music events are free to attend, and St Leonard’s staff and volunteers will be collecting donations during the performances. Donations also can be made online via the  Just Giving page at: justgiving.com/fundraising/live4stleonards

The music acts have been arranged by Chris Bush, York BID’s business manager, whose time has been donated by York BID in support of the York Food & Drink Festival. “We have a sensational line-up of bands and solo artists that’s not to be missed,” he says.

“As a fellow musician, it’s so encouraging to see so many talented individuals enthused to get involved and do their bit for charity. I’m confident we can raise a considerable sum. It’s also a pleasure to be supporting both York Food & Drink Festival and St Leonard’s Hospice, which are two enormously valuable organisations for our city.”

Leather ‘O: Booked in for an 8pm slot on September 19

Michael Hjort, creative director of York Food & Drink Festival, says: “It’s a long-standing ambition of the festival to be active in the early evening and encourage those in the city during the day to stay on.

“Live music is a great way of doing this and at the same time we get to raise money for a great charity. We’re thrilled by the acts coming to play for Live for St Leonard’s.”

Emma Johnson, chief executive at St Leonard’s Hospice, says: “We’re delighted that Chris and the York Food & Drink Festival have chosen to support us with this fantastic event. It’s through the generosity of people in our community that we can continue to provide the best quality of end of care and support. Every donation really does make a difference to our patients and their families.”

The Live For St Leonard’s poster artwork

Here is the Live For St Leonard’s line-up:

Friday, September 17
5pm, Joshua Murray;
6pm, Bryony Drake;
7pm, Big Bad Blues Band;
8pm, The Y Street Band.

Saturday, September 18

5pm, Tri-Starrs;
6pm, Phil Hooley;
7pm, Zak Ford;
8pm, KissKissKill.

Sunday, September 19
5pm, Simon Snaize;
6pm, Joshua Murray;
7pm, White Sail;
8pm, Leather ‘O.

Gary Stewart: Opening act on September 24

Thursday, September 23
5pm, TBC;
6pm, Clive;
7pm, Penny Whispers;
8pm, The Moths.

Friday, September 24
5pm, Gary Stewart;
6pm, Fahrenheit V;
7pm, Andy Doonan;
8pm, Jonny & The Dunebugs.

Saturday, September 25
5pm, Jack Parker;
6pm, Miles Salter;
7pm, Smith n Wallace;
8pm, The Rusty Pegs.

The Rusty Pegs: The closing act for Live For St Leonard’s on September 25

Thready Pulse and J.See set bench mark with tranquil and mindful city-centre installation amid York’s shopping bustle

Bench mark: Jeff “J.See” Clark and Brenna “Thready Pulse” Allsuch stand by Art Of Protest Projects’ mural and photography installation in Parliament Street, York

TRANQUILITY through mindfulness is the aim of Art Of Protest Projects’ public street art collaboration with Thor’s Tipi Bar in York.

Project director Jeff Clark and communications  and support manager Brenna Allsuch are wearing different hats this time, bringing their own vibrant, uplifting mural and photography installation to Parliament Street at the epicentre of the city’s re-opened shopping streets.

Working under the monikers of Thready Pulse and J.See, respectively, muralist Brenna and photographer Jeff have created eight works for display on four benches to make their mark on the urban landscape.

Jeff Clark taking a photograph by York Minster

Focused on mindfulness and finding a quiet moment of peace in bustling and energetic surroundings, this series of installations – with large board canvases as backrests – features Brenna’s painted mountain range on one side and Jeff’s series of black-and-white cityscape photographs on the other.

“The aim of this collaborative project is to invite people to take a quiet rest as they soak in the city landscape,” says Jeff, whose latest project comes on the heels of the ongoing Guardians Of York, the AOP Projects and York BID collaboration with Brighton street artist collective The Postman to “honour and elevate” pandemic key workers from York.

“Placing art within an urban setting has the power to stop passers-by and encourage them to reflect on something they wouldn’t normally expect to see. It also draws people into the space and allows for conversation and engagement with friends and strangers alike.

Take a seat: Jeff Clark sits on one of his “Tranquility through Mindfulness” benches on Parliament Street, York

“This specific project uses various mediums in the form of paint, photography and construction to allow a multifaceted approach to urban seating and art.” 

Thready Pulse and J. See’s bench installation is dedicated to their beloved friend, Michael Feather, who passed away in April. “Michael was the father of our production manager and close friend, Craig Feather,” says Brenna.

“He sadly lost his battle with cancer just four weeks ago and we’ve all been feeling his loss. He was not an artist himself, but an amazing master joiner and carpenter who helped rebuild Chatsworth House [in Derbyshire].

In memory of Michael Feather: Brenna Allsuch and Jeff Clark pay tribute to their late friend’s love of nature and stillness with their bench installation for the public to enjoy tranquility amid the Parliament Street bustle

“Michael was a big part of our lives and his love of nature and stillness served as the inspiration for this piece. His continuous smile and curiosity with the world around him will be sorely missed, but our hope is that this project will serve as a reminder of his impact on his family and our community.”

Brenna and Jeff are grateful to City of York Council for funding and Make It York and York BID for their support. “We’re so excited for this installation to bring smiles and hopefully a feeling of peaceful mindedness to the city of York,” she says.

“Working on these murals and knowing they will be so prominently placed within the city allowed me to step outside of my usual practice and create a series of works that wants to invite people in, stop them in their tracks and allow them to just take a deep breath and refocus their busy mind.”

“Walking through a busy city centre, you don’t expect to come around the corner and see a large mountain landscape,” says Jeff Clark, as he applies his brush to Brenna Allsuch’s mural

Jeff adds: “Walking through a busy city centre, you don’t expect to come around the corner and see a large mountain landscape. Even better, as you walk away and reflect back on the installation, the other side features high-impact iconic black and white imagery of the city of York.”

Under his nom de l’art of J.See, multi-media artist and photographer Jeff Clark works with multi- layered images but predominantly 35mm black-and-white negative film that he then hand processes in a dark room, as well as digital images from various cameras.

Brenna Allsuch, alias Thready Pulse, is a hand-embroidery artist, mural designer and painter from her home studio in York. Trained as an ICU nurse, she is also AOP Projects as head of communications and project support manager. 

“I first painted a mountain mural on a wall in my home and fell in love with mixing colours and creating a sense of depth just by adding lights and darks together,” says muralist Brenna Allsuch

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Brenna moved around Australia and Europe – Norway, Germany and Ireland – and ended up in Austin, Texas, where she spent 15 years. “I moved to the UK almost four years ago and came to York because I wanted to leave the USA and settle in a city where I could raise my kids in a safer environment,” she says.

“Between the political landscape in the USA and having the ability to move abroad, thanks to having English citizen children, York seemed like a great place to settle, and I’m so glad I moved here; I absolutely love it.” 

If her mountain artwork looks familiar to you from another York locale, you are correct: she designed the glass-frontage display at Skosh, Neil Bentinck’s restaurant of the gods in Micklegate.

Mountainous task: Brenna Allsuch, alias Thready Pulse, at work on her bench mural in Parliament Street, York

“I’ve always loved the mountains and have always had an interest in murals,” says Brenna, who also uses mountains as a reference in her modern hand embroidery.

“I first painted a mountain mural on a wall in my home and fell in love with mixing colours and creating a sense of depth just by adding lights and darks together.

“Having painted the mountain mural for Skosh, it seemed like an easy choice when we were approached by Thor’s Tipis to create a backdrop on interesting urban benches. I’m excited to continue to explore mountain ranges as a form of murals, as well as other landscapes, both realistic and abstract.”

Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse, embroiderer, mural artist and Art Of Protest Projects project manager, poses beside street art collective The Postman’s mural of her in Bishopthorpe Road for their Guardians Of York installation. Picture: Dave J Hogan

Explaining the moniker Thready Pulse, Brenna says: “It comes from the medical term defined as ‘a scarcely perceptible and commonly rapid pulse that feels like a fine mobile thread under a palpating finger’.

“I’ve practised as a registered nurse for eight years, most recently working in the intensive care unit at York District Hospital, and when I first delved into the world of embroidery art about three years ago, I thought this was a fitting name for me, suggesting my love for both medicine and fibre arts.”

Her work as an ICU nurse in pandemic times has seen Brenna feature in The Postman’s series of Guardians Of York street art murals. Look out for her, shock of pink hair and all, on the end wall of Millie’s, the grocery store on Bishopthorpe Road.

Writing on the wall: Note the cacophony of words emanating from The Postman’s mural of Brenna Allsuch for the Guardians Of York installation series

Everything’s going to the wall as The Postman delivers street art tribute to key workers in Guardians Of York murals

Steve Wasowa, ICU doctor, York District Hospital, turned into street art by The Postman

YORK public art pioneers Art Of Protest Projects and The York BID are collaborating on a street art series of murals to “honour and elevate pandemic key workers from York”. 

They are working with The Postman, the anonymous international street artist collective tasked with creating the ancient city’s first urban art installation to celebrate the Guardians Of York, who helped to keep York moving when the city – and the world – came to a standstill during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Inviting people back into the city once Lockdown 3 eases, Jeff Clark, director of Art of Protest Projects, says: “Helping people to realise the difference that urban art can make to a town or city, through its presence in York, has been something we’ve been working towards for a long time.

Gill Shaw, Boots retail worker

“To be able to do it with such outstanding artists like The Postman, as well as our homegrown heroes, was beyond anything I could have imagined when we first set out.”

Eleven essential workers, all of them York residents, were recorded by a professional film crew in the closed Debenhams store in Davygate, giving their account of the hardships of working through the upheaval created by the pandemic, and all had their portrait photographs taken.

Taking part were: Becky Arksy, primary school teacher; Pauline Law, police officer; Sally and Mark Waddington, York Rescue Boat; Martin Golton, street cleaner, and Steve Wasowa, ICU doctor, York District Hospital.

Steven Ralph, postal worker

So too were: Steve and Julia Holding, owners of the Pig and Pastry, in Bishopthorpe Road, and founders of the Supper Collective; Steven Ralph, postal worker; Gill Shaw, Boots retail worker, and Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse, York District Hospital.

Their images have been transformed into murals by The Postman collective, whose favoured artistic medium is pop-culture paste-ups, rooted in punk, wherein they express themselves in brightly coloured, edgy, urban portraits, varying from street artworks of Nelson Mandela in South Africa to pop stars in Los Angeles.

“As the Guardians project builds momentum, we realise more and more how important it is to tell the stories of the people behind the masks,” say the mystery duo with roots in graffiti culture. “The key workers that have carried us through the last year inspired us and made a difference to everybody’s lives.”

Pauline Law, police officer

The Guardians Of York will be displayed on city-centre walls in a three-month installation from April 9 to July 9, in a show of gratitude to key workers timed to coincide with the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of many of the city’s “non-essential” businesses, potentially from April 12.

Recalling the dissolving street art of York memorial artist Dexter, The Postman will be applying their paper-based large-scale artworks to walls with wheat paste, their impermanent form of art fading and washing away over time, duly creating a buzz as people seek them out before they disappear.

Jeff Clark has worked closely with Andrew Lawson, executive director of York BID (Business Improvement District), who says: “The BID has supported a couple of street art projects in the city over the past few years and its new five-year business plan outlines how it would like to provide more support in this area.

“To be able to do it with such outstanding artists like The Postman, as well as our homegrown heroes, was beyond anything I could have imagined when we first set out,” says Art Of Protest Projects director Jeff Clark

“The Guardians Of York is an apt project to kick off reopening in 2021, as it will add a splash of colour to the city, while reminding the public of those local heroes who have worked hard to keep us all safe.”

Jeff’s art and media company delivers large and small-scale exhibitions, murals and projects, both nationally and globally, but he was particularly keen to bring alive a new project in his home city, where he previously invited Static – alias Scarborough street art duo Craig Evans and Tom Jackson – to construct murals on the floor of the Art Of Protest gallery, in Little Stonegate, at Brew York, Walmgate, and down a Coney Street alleyway in October 2018.

“By nature I’m a bit of a hippie, but I have the connections to deliver on my beliefs, working on projects in London, New York and Los Angeles ” says Jeff, whose upcoming ideas stretch to creating an open-air museum and laser art (that will not be mere pie in the sky).

Mark Waddington, from the York Rescue Boat team

“I don’t see why I can’t bring my ideas to my home city, so that’s why I’m working with Andrew Lawson, discussing at length how we might implement such ideas, starting with this installation trail with high impact for three months.

“Projects could look at York heroes of the past, but it would be churlish at the moment to do right now when the biggest heroes are our key workers.”

Jeff was keen too to break away from the prevailing images of such workers. “Rather than having yet more tired faces, we want to remind people that there is hope and a path out of this pandemic.

Julia Holding, Pig and Pastry co-owner and Supper Collective co-founder

“It is a world of fear, love and compassion, but these portraits not only show us that, yes, these workers do work that keeps the world going round, but they go home to their families, and they all want to make the world a better place than they came into.”

Mounting the Guardians Of York is a passion project for Jeff and The Postman.  “They like to do street art that makes a difference, and my partner is an NHS frontline worker, so I’ve seen every day how Covid has worn them down, sacrificing their own health. It’s no wonder that nurses have gone down, had to stop working, because they’re frazzled,” he says.

“They’ve had to go into a war-like atmosphere, where normally you’d do a tour and then be sent home, for a break, but that’s not been the case. That’s why my heart and soul has gone into this project.”    

Martin Golton, street cleaner

Let the last word go to project participant Brenna Allsuch, ICU nurse and project support manager to boot. “Telling my story in such a real and raw way has helped me to understand the weight of this year, and to reflect on all the highs and lows,” she says.

“Beyond that, it’s made me feel like I’m part of a community, a collective of people that have not stopped going.”

To watch a video about the project, go to: https://youtu.be/7cUpnE1M-sw

“Telling my story in such a real and raw way has helped me to understand the weight of this year,” says ICU nurse Brenna Allsuch

Copyright of The Press, York