National Recognition For Project To Make City Streets A Little Less Grey

An innovative urban arts project to make the streets of Leeds city centre a little less grey has received national recognition.

A City Less Grey, a joint project from East Street Arts and LeedsBID, took the award for best use of arts, culture or sport in placemaking at the Planning Awards held at Savoy Place, London, on Wednesday 6th June.


The annual national awards, run by Planning magazine, in conjunction with PlanningResource and PlacemakingResource, recognise excellence in both planning and placemaking – breathing life into public places and spaces.


A City Less Grey, launched in November 2016, kick-started an exhilarating time for urban art in Leeds by injecting colour into corners of the city, and also brought the UK’s tallest piece of street art to Leeds – Athena Rising by NOMAD Clan adorns the full length of the east elevation of Platform, visible from Leeds Station and beyond.

The talents of local and nationally based artists were used to create semi-permanent and permanent installations throughout the city centre – at sites of historic relevance and regeneration to new landmark corporate buildings.


The project began on Kirkgate, the oldest street in Leeds, on the hoarding covering the collapsed First White Cloth Hall. Artwork at Sovereign Square, a second piece on Kirkgate, Platform and Vicar Lane followed. Artists Kasia Breska, Jo Peel, Joe Dickenson, NOMAD Clan and Mel Holmes were

each commissioned to deliver a bespoke piece of work to transform a site in their own unique style, with carefully considered emotional connection and identity, and the incorporation of poignant references to the local environment.


Initiated by East Street Arts and funded by LeedsBID, the project involved collaboration between arts, community, and business partners, from Leeds City Council and Network Rail to Bruntwood, KPMG, Hammerson and Rushbond.

NOMAD Clan street art in Leeds called Athena Rising

LeedsBID Chief Executive, Andrew Cooper, said: “We are delighted A City Less Grey has received this prestigious award and national recognition for all it has achieved. This project has vastly enhanced the city’s ambience, showcased its personality and welcome, and has now become a best-practice example in placemaking/shaping - as well as putting Leeds on the map as home to the UK’s tallest piece of street art.


“It has brought colour, creativity and impact to the streets of Leeds, connecting creatives, business and cultural sectors to showcase artistic talent and enhance the city’s cultural offer as well as its physical look and feel for visitors, commuters and residents alike – among the core aims of the work of LeedsBID.”


Karen Watson, artistic director and founder of East Street Arts, said: “We are absolutely over the moon with A City Less Grey’s win at the Planning Award. Placemaking is an extremely large part of our work at East Street Arts – creating public artwork that transforms space and provides the opportunity for artists to express their work and improve public surroundings. It’s really great that this has been recognised with such a high-profile award.


“Each and every artist we worked with brought something really special to the project and they’ve all helped to bring the city to life with colour and creativity; it’s a fantastic example of collaboration at its best. We’re dedicated to expanding the project further and look forward to bringing even more public art to the city in the near future.”