‘Faces and Voices’; If you notice a copy of this wonderful, locally produced Arts magazine in your nearby café, library or doctor’s waiting room, go ahead and pick it up; it’s well worth a flick through!

Beautifully assembled by the Mexborough Arts Collective Magazine Project, supported by literary poetry group, ‘Right up our street’, this high quality publication is a great example of what can occur when the arts are brought to the streets of our town, and to the doorstep of ordinary folk.

This amazing collection of various art forms, consists of work produced by a slice of our local community, by people from all walks of life, young, old, all creeds and colours, people from right across the spectrum living together in our midst; their art features self-portraits, created ‘on spec’ by Mexborough market goers, who were invited to ‘have a go’ by looking at themselves in a mirror and drawing what they see. There are striking paintings and thought-provoking pieces, painstakingly produced, in some cases, by people who’d never written before in their lives.

There are pages full of humour and comedy, and poems that are deep, dark or daft, some produced by the afore-mentioned local poetry group. Also included is a very touching tribute to the fallen and one to the area’s strong industrial past. There are photographs of quirky parts of familiar local buildings, or landmarks that have perhaps previously gone unnoticed, as we hurry past in our daily lives.

And one of our favourites: the photograph featured alongside the magazine cover in our post; taken by Pete Olding: a collection of local brewery beer mats, adorned with funny, local sayings and observations, snippets of familiar sights and sounds that you’d hear or see in your local pub, that would make you smile in recognition, or make you think ‘I must look out for that next time I go in there!’

This magazine has a sprinkling of everything that makes this favourite part of the world as quintessentially Yorkshire, as it is, namely because all the work featured has been created by local people, written, edited, painted, sketched, photographed, designed, printed, produced and handed out by local people and it proves, beyond doubt, that ‘the arts’ can be relevant to everyone and can really bring people together. It is indeed all around us and among us. This magazine presents a wonderfully welcoming local perspective that hadn’t, until now, perhaps even occurred to us.

We invite you to come along to Mexborough Business Centre, grab a copy and have a cuppa in our newly opened café. This really is, in our opinion, a joy to read and is the collaborative creation of incredibly talented, local artist, Pete Olding and highly acclaimed poet, Ian Parks, who conceived this idea, as part of their independent longer-term projects. Both men have spent their lives bringing various arts to our communities and are both passionate about removing long held ideas that art, poetry and literature is for elite middle-class environments only.

This project has successfully sparked the interest of the local passerby and it has actively encouraged their expression of individuality. These men believe that access to ‘the arts’ can inspire and evoke positivity, in ways that can only bring light, hope and pride to areas, like Mexborough. Their aim is to ensure it is kept alive and kicking in our homes and in our towns for generations to come. Hats off to you, gentlemen and to all those who took part in this project! Can’t wait for the next one!

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