Pyramid of Arts

Sarah Kennedy Operations Coordinator at Pyramid of Arts tells us about Tenfold member Pyramid of Arts.

Describe Pyramid of Arts in a paragraph
Pyramid of Arts is an inclusive arts organisation in which people with and without learning disabilities come together to make art. We like doing BIG projects and our work goes into exhibitions or public performances. We fulfill a dual function of community and creativity.

What is the background to Pyramid of Arts?
Our former Creative Director, Julia Piggott (1952 -2014) started the foundations of Pyramid of Arts running a Sunday arts club at Meanwood Park Hospital in 1989.

The hospital provided residential care for people with learning disabilities. When it closed, some former residents wanted to keep meeting and making art so the club continued as a community project, funded by the local health authority. The activities were then a distinct project in People in Action, and then Pyramid of Arts was formally constituted as an independent charity in 2002.

We now have an office base in Barkston House in Holbeck and our group work takes place in a range of community locations. We continue to work with some of the people who used to be at the hospital.

What services do you provide / which projects do you deliver?
We have several art groups that meet on a weekly basis and work in a wide range of art forms. Currently, we are, amongst many other things, building a ‘Deciding Machine’; writing a musical and preparing for three other art organisations from across Europe to come and spend a week working with us here in Leeds.

Some of our members told us they wanted to come for longer than one session per week, or that they were interested in really furthering their creative skills in one particular art-form. Responding to that demand, we have now set up the Pyramid Develop Teams, which offer 1:1 training and small group work in a wide range of art-forms and crafts (e.g. animation, carpentry, music – all sorts!)

Who is in the team today?
In the office we have:

  • James Hill (Operational Director),
  • Sukhvinder K Sond (Project Coordinator),
  • Sarah Kennedy (Operations Coordinator)
  • David Maccoby (Admin Assistant)

We work with an amazing team of around 15 freelance artists and 30 volunteers.

What is the best thing about your job?
The camaraderie and self-belief we have as an organisation. If one of our groups said they wanted to make a 60ft bubble-wrap statue of Leonard Nimoy and stand it on top of the Corn Exchange, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they managed it.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Monitoring forms! We are so grateful to the funders who support our work but my word, it is hard keeping track of everyone and everything that goes on around here…

If you had a super power what would it be and why?
I would be Empathy Girl and I would have the power to make people see things from another person’s point of view. I would spend a lot of time visiting rich politicians.

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why?
A posthumous Visionary Award to our former Creative Director, Julia Piggott, who dedicated 25 years of her life to Pyramid of Arts. She thought so far outside the box, I’m not sure she even knew there was a box. I learned a lot from her.


May 2014