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Residents of Larkhill Court estate in Middleton were treated to an exclusive exhibition of two Lowry paintings on Thursday afternoon. 

Touchstones Art Gallery and Museum in Rochdale teamed up with Arcon Housing Association to organise the transportation of the two Lowry’s as part of a wider community engagement project. 

The two paintings, one from the collection at Touchstones Rochdale and one loaned to Touchstones by the Co-Op Group, were safely stored in the back of a non-descript white transit van and taken to Larkhill Court, where locals were invited to view them and learn more about the artwork from Touchstones staff. 

Lowry on Tour forms part of an ongoing project, led by Touchstones, Arcon Housing Association and the Co-Op Group, dedicated to engaging local communities in the arts. This involved the creation and distribution of ‘creative packs’ to Arcon Housing residents during lockdown, which were developed in collaboration with local artist, Beam Irwin. The kits were sent to Arcon tenants in a bid to encourage them to begin to explore their artistic skills and abilities.

Lisa Allen, Co-Head of Culture at Touchstones, said of the Lowry on Tour exhibition: “Taking two Lowry’s out into the heart of our communities has been a fantastic way of engaging local people with the arts.

“Taking art out in the van and parking it up on the street is such an easy and accessible way to encourage people to get more interested and excited about art, as well as the fantastic culture venues available on their doorstep!

“We had an extremely positive reception from the tenants at Larkhill Court, and we look forward to getting out and about in the van again soon.”

Community Development Officer at Arcon Housing Association, Sarah Taylor, added: “This partnership with Touchstones has been a great way of involving local communities in the arts by quite literally taking the art to their doorsteps! 

“Before the March 2020 lockdown, we were able to take pieces from exhibits into local schools, but covid restrictions meant we were no longer able to do that. 

“It’s been fantastic to still engage our tenants in the arts by taking these iconic Lowry pieces out and about in the van, and we’ve been delighted with the reception so far!”