Residents and visitors to Manchester’s Northern Quarter over the past two years will undoubtedly have noticed the changing murals on Stevenson Square, and more recently Tib Street. Every three months Tasha Whittle and Ben Harrison invite a coterie of artists to decorate The Outhouse, what was once a public toilet in the centre of Stevenson Square, and have now acquired The Sub Station, which artists are invited to repaint monthly.
The Outhouse project began in 2011, and was originally run by Tasha and one of our previous creative Manchester subjects, Lois Macdonald. By forming partnerships with the local council and Cityco, the team have been supported in their ambitions, and have future plans to decorate the walls and car park outside of The Wheatsheaf Pub on Oak Street.
For many the painted walls of The Outhouse and Sub Station offer a brightly coloured point of interest in their day-to-day routine, and passers-by might be lucky enough to see the artists in action, come rain or shine wielding Montana Cans every few weeks. Project Manager, Tasha Whittle, explained that she tries to document the whole painting process, with pictures of past sessions available to view on The Outhouse website. It’s a special experience to see a work of art being created before your eyes, and this is an important part of The Outhouse’s mission.
If you are a mural or graffiti artist, or simply an artist who is interested in public engagement, and would like to take advantage of the opportunities offered by The Outhouse, you can get in touch with Tasha and Ben via the website. The only criteria are (obviously) no offensive imagery, and sketches must be submitted beforehand. Tasha is adamant that this is not just an opportunity for painters, but would like for anybody with ideas that can last outside in all weathers to get in touch.
If you’re eager to see The Outhouse team at work, over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of October, Eurocultured have been invited to take over the Stevenson Square site, in commemoration of their 10th year, since the first Eurocultured festival in 2003; a weekend of live art, music and celebration. For the future, Tasha spoke about the possibility of workshops, so that non-artists can get involved and have a go at decorating their City, referring specifically to the homeless in central Manchester, who are directly affected by art in the streets.
Written by Lauren Velvick / Photos by Elle Brotherhood