In late 2019, Dawn Reck started to get ready to move into Vale House in Vale Park, New Brighton to set up Mersey Arts Zone (MAZ). A date for March 2020 was set to move in and she began networking with art venues and projects on both sides of the river. “I wanted MAZ to be a creative space for exhibitions, events and affordable artwork. It’s for artists, local creatives, musicians and makers to meet up in MAZ and enjoy the space.”, she told us.
However, when March 2020 arrived, everything changed. “The creative sector was closed down, and MAZ could not be opened as planned. “It’s been uncertain times for everyone.”, she says ruefully.
However, the venue opened for the first time this May Bank Holiday weekend. “I’ve been trying to open since 2019 and it’s been delayed. But now we’ve finally done it and we’ve opened.”, Dawn said. “It’s exciting now! It’s been a long journey, it’s been difficult, but it’s great that we’ve finally opened!
“Mersey Arts Zone is a creative space for artists, photographers, makers, designers, everyone!”, Dawn explained. “I’d imagine a lot of artists from New Brighton and the rest of Wirral and from across the Mersey will be involved. I want artists from across the Liverpool City Region to take part.”, she said.
Mersey Arts Zone is a “space for everyone to come and enjoy.” Dawn said, “A few people have said to me, ‘Why did you not call it Mersey Art Gallery?’ and the reason for that is that when I was little, a ‘gallery’ was not for me and as I grew older, I still felt like galleries are only for certain people. My whole thought process for MAZ was I wanted exhibition space to give artists an opportunity to display their work to the public.”
MAZ will be also be providing a space to run art workshops, during the daytime and evenings. “It’s nice to see this space being brought back into use for the community.”, Dawn said, proudly.
Richard Steel is an environmental consultant and award-winning wildlife photographer. In 2008, he was the overall winner in the BBC Countryfile photo competition and was involved in the judging process in subsequent years. He has some of his work on display at MAZ in an exhibition that will run for a month.
Richard said, “I think that a lot of local artists produce art, but struggle to find somewhere to display it. Dawn is looking to create a community gallery, where people can come along with their photographs, drawings or other art work and Dawn can provide them with a space not only to show it, but also to potentially sell it.”
“A lot of people will be producing art, but have never had any of their work on display anywhere and by displaying in MAZ will help them with their overall confidence and help them develop as artists.”, Richard continued. “There’s a lot of art going on, but the artists seem quite disparate and separated and MAZ will be a nice local hub for them.”
The current exhibition also features photography by Steve Ward who is an internationally published award winning photographer, who has had his work published in the national press. His work has also been used on BBC Springwatch and BBC Countryfile.
Mersey Arts Zone, Vale Park, Vale House, New Brighton, Wirral. CH45 1LZ
Main Image: Dawn Reck of MAZ
All images: www.fotopiaimages.com