Bristol’s Bearpit Softened by Curious Encounters

Bristol Eye recently encountered a fantastic initiative by Hand in Glove, a Bristol-based collective of artists and curators who produce projects in a variety of contexts to showcase and support emerging artist practice. By working across disciplines, they aim to overcome set boundaries and develop artwork with a special focus on process, dialogue and exchange, which is incremental to any creative process.

Their latest project is Art in Bearpit, a pilot programme of commissions and events developed for the Bearpit in central Bristol, taking place from May to October 2015. For six months, Bristol’s iconic Bearpit will play host to a series of unusual interventions and encounters, interrupting the everyday life of the city, which they entitled ‘curious encounters in the city’. It definitely arouses curiosity.

The project is initiated by Bearpit Improvement Group which was formed to implement ideas and prospects for the Bearpit. BIG consists of a team of volunteers who are united by the vision and objectives to change central Bristol’s Bearpit roundabout space from a feared space to one that is “welcoming, safe, diverse and inclusive”. The ethos of BIG is to deliver manageable, incremental change to the Bearpit, and promote it for the use and enjoyment of all residents and visitors of Bristol. A noble vision that should be supported by all, not just art enthusiasts as it’s primarily a community dream.

Art in Bearpit also has a call for proposals from artists and art writers based in South West England for an artwork or project to be presented in/around the Bearpit site on a day or weekend in late summer 2015, rewarding the selected artists with a micro-commission of £250. The deadline is Sun 22 Feb 2015.

In the meantime, the Bristol audience will have to wait and see what’s in store from May onwards.