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Unity Paint Jam – 19 artists, 6 hours, 5 locations… 1 live feed

During lockdown many artists have struggled with the effects of isolation. With exhibitions and galleries closed, artists lost the opportunity to work and interact with fellow creatives. The Unity Paint Jam, which took place on Saturday 19th July, was a much needed respite, allowing 19 artists from five locations to finally paint together (socially distanced of course).

The first ‘Jam’ took place in 2020 after successful National Lottery funding. The event, the first of its kind in the UK, is the brainchild of New Urban Era’s founder Vic Brown who put the online event together to keep artists active and engage the public during the height of the pandemic.

As Vic Brown explains, “After last year’s success we decided to make it an annual event. With the pandemic finally coming to an end we are now looking at options to develop the delivery of the event with some exciting plans already in place”.

Irek, Steve and Reyo working hard on their piece for the Unity Paint Jam, which was streamed live for the whole event
Irek, Steve and Reyo working hard on their piece for the Unity Paint Jam, which was streamed live for the whole event

The Unity online paint jam was streamed live on the New Urban Era Nue Facebook page and website newurbanera.org from 11am allowing viewers from all over the world to watch the artists create new art works at the following locations – Netherlands, Cheltenham, Brighton, Peterborough and Tamworth.

The successful Unity Paint Jam event was picked up by the BBC
The successful Unity Paint Jam event was picked up by the BBC

Although Unity Paint Jam teamed up with Cheltenham Paint Festival and Brink in 2020, this is the first time ‘Korpfest’ teamed up via the amazing studio of legendary street artist Kaine Kulczak aka Korp in Peterborough. It was also the first time the event had utilised the capabilities of a 5G network.

Korpfest started in 2018 as the Undercroft Paint Jam but quickly became known as Korpfest. It was due to be a part of the original Unity Jam in 2020 but fell through due to Covid restrictions.

Korpfest, for the first time, hosted 5 artists as part of the Unity Paint Jam
Korpfest, for the first time, hosted 5 artists as part of the Unity Paint Jam (photograph courtesy of @v_iphotography)

“Compared to previous jams, it was very quiet. I love the atmosphere and buzz of having an audience but obviously with the current restrictions it just wasn’t possible to allow the public into the studios. Having said that, it was still a great day and it was refreshing to be able to paint alongside other artists again. I’ve definitely missed that”, explained Korp.

One artist involved was CreativeFolk founder Paul Kneen who had the opportunity to paint alongside Korp, Donna Poingdestre, Jason Duckmanton and Rose Croft at Korp’s studio.

“After the last 12 months it was so nice to finally get to meet amazing new artists and paint alongside them. I felt very honoured to be invited by Korp to the event and it was certainly an exciting learning curve for me. I can’t wait to do another one”, said Paul.

The paint jam, which to date has had over 5,500 views, kick started this year’s Tamworth Urban arts festival that will take place at locations across Tamworth and includes creative community events, wall battles and an environmental arts festival in September.

“We certainly have a busy year ahead with new murals planned for the town and the launch of two brand new events including ‘The Creative Community’ taking place at venues across Tamworth that will feature live music, art and spoken word. Our other new project will be the ‘Environmental Arts Festival’ planned for the 11th September with fun environmental and recyclable art workshops for all to try plus trapeze performances from ‘The Flying Peach’ “, said Vic Brown.

To see events finally taking place again is hopefully the sign we’ve all been looking; that things are slowly getting back to normal. The last year has taken a serious toll on artists and we have to thank Vic Brown and Kaine Kulczak for paving the way and giving artists the opportunity to create together in public once again.

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