A special artist residency at Darlington Libraries will be ‘sailing’ through the town centre in a bid to encourage people to share their favourite thing about the town.

‘Darlo to Boro is our Grand Tour’ is the theme for artist and drag king Lady Kitt’s residency at Crown Street Library, which forms part of the Middlesbrough Art Weekender and is supported by The Auxiliary artist-led workspace and Creative Darlington.

The project explores the idea that cultural life in the North East can be just as, if not more, exciting, rich and diverse as the 18th century ‘Grand Tour’.

It will see the floor of Crown Street Gallery become a giant, 3D paper map of Darlington featuring locations suggested – and made – by local people either online or during workshops at the library.

On Tuesday 27 August, 2.30-4.30pm, Lady Kitt and drag queen Miss Penny Press will ‘set sail’ around the town centre in a giant, origami paper boat for an interactive performance as they invite people to write or draw their favourite things about Darlington onto the boat.

Lady Kitt explained:

“I’ve already held several workshops at the library and am keen to get more people involved in helping the map ‘grow’ out of the floor of the gallery. I imagine the work will reflect the history of the town and the wider area, through an exploration of the archives, and perhaps our imagined futures.

“I’m sure it will also draw on my own experiences of growing up near here and my changing perceptions, now returning as an adult. But above all, I want it to reflect the views and thoughts of local people, whether they’ve lived here all their lives or are new to the area – and everyone involved will be credited as co-authors of the work.”

Councillor Paul Howell, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and the local environment, said:

“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome Lady Kitt as our resident artist and to be working with The Auxiliary and Middlesbrough Art Weekender to highlight and promote the richness and diversity of culture across the Tees Valley.

“Do look out for Lady Kitt and Miss Penny Press as they sail around town on Tuesday and share your thoughts or pop in to the library to view the map and perhaps help create a new addition.”

To find out more about Lady Kitt and the artist residency at Darlington Libraries visit www.lladykitt.com or pop in to see them at the gallery at Crown Street Library on the following dates:

August

Weds 28th 3-6pm

September

Mon 2nd – 3-6pm

Weds 4th – 10am-1pm

Mon 9th – 10am- 1pm

Weds 11th – 10am- 1pm

Thurs 12th – 10am-1pm

For more information about Creative Darlington visit www.darlington.gov.uk/creativedarlington and for more details about Middlesbrough Art Weekender (26-29 September) log onto www.middlesbroughartweekender.com

Photo: Lady Kitt in origami boat (photo by Melanie Kyles)