We've been doing a lot of evaluating of the Arts Trail over the winter, thinking about where we've come from and where we would like to go. Since its inception in 2007, we believed that the Arts Trail, or an event like it, in this area had enormous potential. Saltaire with its rich, evocative history is an inspiration in itself, really telling the story of industry from the Industrial Revolution to the present day: the change from rural cottage industries to the power of the machine age, the dominance of the British Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their slow decline to the mid 1980s. In its heyday, Salts Mill produced 18 miles of worsted cloth per day on its 1,200 looms employing 3,000 people. It continued to manufacture textiles for over 130 years. But by the mid 1980s, the Mill was semi-derelict.
The Mill was bought by Jonathan Silver in 1987 and, with the help of his childhood friend David Hockney, he transformed its fortunes and that of the village.
Saltaire is choc-full of creative people from artists and writers to people who work in the theatre and arts administration. The diversity of its artistic community is overwhelming. But its not just Saltaire. Shipley, Bingley, Balidon, Keighley, Bradford... There is a huge appetite for artistic experience and a multitude of practitioners engaging in all forms of creativity.
We want the Arts Trail to celebrate all of that; to be a showcase for the incredible talent that exists in this region; to draw visitors from all over the north of England and beyond; to engage people, excite them, and encourage their participation.
So, we have some plans for the future and we'll let you know about them as soon as we can.
The Saltaire Arts Trail is a community arts event held in the UNESCO World Heritage Village of Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Our aim is to support the visual arts in and around Saltaire, celebrating the village’s rich heritage, and offering opportunities to both emerging and established artists. We want to demonstrate the value of creativity through education and to engage the diverse communities within Bradford, making the visual arts accessible to all.