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Creative Research – Whittlesey Community Christmas Tree

Whittlesey Community Christmas Tree, photo by Jenny Johnson

This December we were asking the people of Whittlesey to help us to decorate the Whittlesey Market Place Christmas Tree for the St. Mary’s Church Christmas Tree Festival – and produce a unique piece of community art in the process.

The tree takes its inspiration from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s interactive art installation called “Obliteration Room”and is a fun, easy way for anyone and everyone to take part in creating a piece of art. The tree will begin as a plain white cone and, throughout the festival, people will be able to add coloured stickers to give it the appearance of being covered in lights or baubles. Each colour will represent a different type of visual art and will be used to indicate what activities the local community would like to participate in during future Market Place projects.

This idea was suggested and developed by Jenny Johnson, our Creative Forum member from Whittlesey. The results were amazing.

There were over 320 votes on the tree.

34% were for sculpture  |  31% for drawing |  18% for crafts  |  11%  for painting  |  6% for print making

There were also well over 150 orange stickers placed “just for fun”,  which we thought was great.

I was delighted that so many people were happy to take part, I found that people were more than willing to vote and to chat with me to give their opinions on what they would like to see more of.  It was an excellent way to speak to people about the project and my work as people were curious about the tree and keen to add to it.  As I designed the tree with the idea of introducing Market Place to the community and to involve them through participation in a community piece I feel this project was a real success. I think that the Christmas tree festival was well attended so lots of people had the chance to see it and take part.

This was great for me to be able to do this project, really encouraging to see the community enjoying getting involved and covering the tree. It was also a good opportunity for me to promote my work on social media, as I don’t often do this. Thanks again for the chance to work on this, I thoroughly enjoyed it” , Jenny Johnson

Have a read of Jenny’s blog about the Whittlesey Community Christmas Tree here.

Following this research Jenny has applied for a Market Place Development Commission and is now working to prepare and run an animation workshop for Whittlesey community at St.Mary’s Church Art Exhibition on 7 May this year, Find out more about the event and join us on the day!