Stephen Wignal, Chair of Marching Out Together, says:
On behalf of Marching Out Together, I am delighted that we are going to join the growing number of Leeds United Mural’s around the city. To have a mural that celebrates LGBT+ inclusion, the club we love and the local community is something really special. The work that has gone into resourcing this is incredible and I am proud of everyone involved. Special thanks go out to the board of Marching Out Together, East Street Arts, Leeds Inspired and the artist Jay Gillead. I cannot wait to see the mural completed and celebrate another important milestone for inclusion for Marching Out Together
Jay is an internationally renowned street artist, who those of us in Leeds will probably know best for their stunning work on the side of Leeds City Station – the tallest mural in the UK. But they have also produced major works internationally from London to Berlin and New York. As such the finished work will significantly add to the growing set (and status) of the Leeds United murals in Leeds.
The project is overseen by Marching Out Together, working closely in partnership with East Street Arts (the leading artist led organisation in the city) and with Leeds United Football Club.
The work has received funding from Leeds City Council’s Arts Grants stream: ‘Leeds Inspired’ as well as from MOT members and in-kind contributions, including the loan of a scissor lift from Media Access Solutions.
The mural will be on the side of East Street Arts Patrick Studios building adjoining York Road, with 68,000 people passing by each day.
Jon Wakeman, Artistic Director from East Street Arts said
Since redeveloping and moving into Patrick Studios in 2004, East Street Arts has been looking for the right project to adorn the gable end of our building overlooking the A64, and this is that project!
Working with Marching Out Together and Cbloxx brings together a team which we feel reflects the passions and inclusive nature that East Street Arts strives to deliver not only in our small corner of Leeds but across the city as a whole.
We have worked with artists from across the globe but it is always special when you are able to support and celebrate the talent that is rooted on your own doorstep, and every football fan knows how it feels to have someone on your side that reflects the world you live in.”
A key part of the project is to engage with 3 key groups to inform the look of the mural: Namely local residents (Which ESA are arranging as part of wider community consultation), LGBTQ+ fans (which MOT are organising) and crucially LUFC are arranging a session with Leeds United Academy Players as part of their on-going commitment to equality and inclusion in football.
Angus Kinnear, Chief Executive of Leeds United said:
“We are delighted that this exciting Leeds United and LGBT+ themed mural will be appearing soon. It will be a very powerful and visible celebration of the diversity of our great fan base, and the club looks forward to contributing to the discussions around its final design.”
The artist, Jay Gilleard (Born 1983) in the old Yorkshire mill town of Huddersfield, is
a non binary street artist/muralist, painter, music producer and multidisciplinary artist.
They became most well-known for co-founding internationally acclaimed street art
duo Nomad Clan. They are currently based between the wilderness of the Pennines
and the dust bowl of Los Angeles. They resumed solo practice in 2020 as Cbloxx.
It’s an honour to be painting back in a place I used to call home, Leeds has always rallied for liberalism, equality and multiplicity, its cultural significance is something to remain incredibly proud of. Speaking personally football at its very best is a cohesive healer when it celebrates diversity. Visibility is the key to change, living authentically and owning that reality is such a powerful tool that has the ability to transcend stereotypes and break down barriers. It’s important to recognise the varied audiences that make up team supporters, every person should have their safe space to attend and take part in sporting event’s fear free. My intention for this mural is to echo the sentiments of ‘marching out together’, to take some visible space for LGBTQI footie fans and spread a wider message of solidarity via a bespoke informed mural. ‘
Further information on Jay and their work can be found at:
Original Press release written by Marching Out Together