Art at the Mill

A new spoke to the MERCi (Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative) wheel, MERCi In Community Arts (MICA) is the umbrella for creative work in and around the Centre. MICA is based around arts activity, education and access, including the community in the arts and design of the Centre and running activities in schools, community centres, galleries and beyond. It will emphasise education in community and environmental matters through the arts, with a concentration of art works in and around the Centre. As with all MERCi projects MICA aims to develop sustainably, with an emphasis on skill sharing, our goal being early retirement, as the kids involved now return as professional artists!

Work So Far

MICA was born from the work done for the Window Bars Project in March, bringing local kids, artists, a welding course and our trainees together with amazing results, and a lot of education thrown in. The Manchester School of Architecture is running a course in reclaimed materials project for the Centre and coming up with some very impressive designs.

Future Projects

As well as designing and making furniture and fittings for the Centre, designer maker in residence, Pete Gunson, is working hard to bring artists and projects into the scheme. He is carrying out outreach work and fund raising to harness as much of the kids' energy as possible, making the remaining stages of the MERCi refurbishment as inclusive and empowering as possible before moving onto community projects. One such project is "Cardboard Fantastic" with Medlock Valley High School, fitting in with their G.C.S.E. art topic "Form Follows Function". MERCi's bike lock up, a vital part of any eco-centre, will be going out to community design in the spring, along similar lines to the window bars, also look out for a lively gate and fence! As with all their other projects, MERCi are looking for new volunteers and ideas, so contact them today!

Pete, MERCi (0161 273 1736,

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© Networking Newsletter (Dec 2000)