We held our first PassionArt Trail in Lent 2014 reflecting on themes relating to the Easter Passion story. Hosted in six venues across the city centre we welcomed around seven thousand visitors during the eight weeks we were open to engage with the Easter narrative. In 2016 we hosted another Lent Art Trail called Be Still again working with six venues across the city centre including the city art gallery, the John Rylands Library and Manchester Cathedral that estimated attendance of around fifteen thousand over the course of the exhibitions.
PassionArt is a small charity that explores the way art and faith impact our everyday lives. We aim to recover beauty, stillness and compassion at the heart of our communities through collective acts of creativity, curating exhibitions and projects that partner with both secular and sacred spaces we aim to build bridges between faith and community to promote wellbeing, cohesiveness and social transformation. Art offers different ways of seeing the world by engaging our emotions to stimulate empathy, kindness and shared understanding, inviting us to explore human values about how we can live well together.
We believe that every artist has a mission to bring about transformation; we work with artists from all faith backgrounds and none to bring about creative interventions in public spaces that create meaningful conversations, storytelling and alternative perspectives around social and spiritual wellbeing. Art is an instrument of conversation that develops a non confrontational language between the artist and the viewer constantly raising questions and opening up new ways of thinking and seeing the world.
PassionArt is led by visual artist and curator Lesley Sutton who has a background in art and faith projects. Also on the team are classical musician Richard Williamson, graphic designer Micah Purnell, photographer Lindsay Grant, ceramic artist Rachel Ho and a wonderful collection of volunteers.
To extend the work of the PassionArt Trails we have partnered with St Ann’s Church Manchester in the heart of the city centre to create a series of pop-up exhibitions creating a conversation between spirituality, the arts and community using the mindful reflection of art to explore wholehearted living. These exhibitions will allow the Christian calendar to form a structure for the events although the art works will not necessarily be religious in nature, but aim to invite us to reflect on values that are common to all faith groups, helping us to live compassionately, peacefully and creatively in our diverse and exciting city. We are also working in collaboration with Manchester Cathedral and it’s arts progamme.