On September 18th 2015, the Counterplay project hosted a meal on Piccadilly in collaboration with Art Lunch organiser Chris Reader.
Chris made 20 free tickets available and advertised to regular art lunch attendees, local artists and creatives. Winstanley & Nadin arranged with the two charity shops on the street (St Vincent’s and Shelter) to utilise their stock to set the tables (for which we used the stone benches). All of the tableware, table cloths and some chairs were for sale and a starter and dessert was sourced from Piccadilly food vendors Zest and Tsp respectively. The main course was provided by the diners who each bought picnic style food to share.
The lunch was attended by approximately 32 people, including charity shop volunteers and passers by who joined us for food and a chat about the project. Thankfully the weather was dry and warm which allowed us to spend approximately 4 hours at the lunch (12-3). The surrounding businesses seemed happy for us to set up in the location and foot traffic was not negatively affected. Many people who attended the lunch reported feeling more connected to the creative community and enjoyed the street culture atmosphere. The two charity shops, who have been incredibly welcoming and supportive of this idea from the outset, enjoyed the day and were pleased with how it went. St Vincent’s reported an extra £15 of sales from the diners alone.
Passers by were confident to approach diners, were overwhelmingly positive and keen to engage with us about cultural subjects. The lunch made it easy for pedestrians to meet with a group of local artists because of the public location and relaxed atmosphere. One passer by, who had engaged with Counterplay before (inquiring about taking up photography) joined the art lunch to further discuss his interests.
The evidence suggests that this event could be regularly repeated and would become a popular fixture with the local creative community and the public alike.
Quotes from diners
“Thank you so much for in- viting me to sit with you for the Piccadilly Lunch. What a lovely way to get the public involved.”- Passer by.
“Full of vibrant complexity” – Diner
“Lovely Afternoon! I really enjoyed meeting friends from the art world and meeting new people too. As I work on my own for most of the time, this feels really important. Thank you. – Diner
“Can we do more?”- Diner