New Manchester art trail features sculptures that promote mental health and well-being

Creative studio and multidisciplinary arts collective We Are Willow has worked with global art producer Wild in Art to create Six Places In A Different Light, a striking art trail located in Greater Manchester that aims to promote mental health and well-being.

Announced to coincide with Mental Health Day – the international day for mental health education – the trail will run from 30 October until 11 December. The project, funded and supported by the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership, Salford City Council, The University of Salford, LandsecU+I and Arts Council England, will comprise a series of head sculptures installed throughout the city.

Locations on the trail include Mayfield Park, Greengate Square, the University of Salford's Peel Park Campus, outside the Imperial War Museum North and MediaCity UK. Audiences will be encouraged to use the trail to connect with new communities through creativity, as well as engage in open conversations about mental health.

This year's trail is the latest in a series of works dating back to 2016. When the A Different Light project started, it featured four films, an album of music and spoken word, and 3,000 mini, bespoke head sculptures.

For the 2023 trail, six large-scale head sculptures will be displayed, each uniquely decorated by illustrator and community artist Kelly Ma, illustrator Tom J Newell and painter Ekun Richard.

Along with We Are Willows's specially-written 12-track album of music and spoken word, the artists also worked with the charities Manchester Mind, START, and The Jamie Horrocks Trust, plus BlueSci in Trafford & Stockport and District Mind.

Chris Butler, co-founder and creative lead for We Are Willow, said: "The opportunity to collaborate with Wild in Art and three inspirational charities to promote the crucial work they deliver across Greater Manchester through creativity is extremely exciting.

"The previous projects we have produced have raised awareness, but we can always do more. We can make it count for more, bring more people with us and, with collaboration as our guiding light, make a bigger difference."

As you can see, the giant sculptures have already arrived at Mayfield Park, where they will remain in a dedicated painting space as the artists get to work. Once they are completed, the sculptures will be installed in their locations across Greater Manchester for the public to enjoy.

Laura Percy, development director for Mayfield, LandsecU+I, said: "Mayfield is delighted to support Six Places In A Different Light. This sculpture trail encouraging people to talk about their mental health is a wonderful idea, and what better place for this to happen than the city's newest park, a place for peaceful reflection? The blend of culture and nature is integral to Mayfield, and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors to the park over the next few months.

"This initiative, together with the recreation of the iconic Ian Curtis mural at the Star & Garter to support World Suicide Prevention Day in September, underlines our deep and lasting commitment to using our spaces to inspire, educate and support our city."


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