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Leeds Train Station art project offers Christmas calm amongst commuting chaos

By Rebecca Marano

LEEDS TRAIN commuters may have noticed something unusual this Christmas when a shed suddenly appeared in the station.

The ‘Christmas with Us’ exhibition in Leeds train station.

Located near Subway and Wetherspoons, the unassuming shed is a new temporary art installation called ‘Christmas with us.’

The wooden cabin is a free and interactive artwork where people are invited in to sit, have a cup of tea and listen to the stories of over 50 people from across Leeds.

The artist, David Shearing, has been making work in Leeds for nine years. His work focuses on exploring the city, the people and the stories of Leeds.

Mr Shearing said: “I wanted to do a project that really got to the heart of what Christmas is about and, for me, that’s about the sense of togetherness.

“The idea is to create a table encounter that you gather around whilst you listen to stories of people in Leeds about their experiences of Christmas.”

The installation is running from the 1st to the 23rd of December and since its opening it has averaged around 150 visitors a day.

Visitors are invited to spend as long as they want in the cabin and it is designed to offer a place of warmth, stillness and connection amidst the Christmas rush.

Project manager Anna Turzynski said the level of reception of the artwork has been really moving.

She said: “We’ve had people spending 45 minutes in the box just having conversations with someone they’ve never met or with us.

“We had this amazing guy the other day who was like ‘I used to be an art teacher but since I retired I haven’t experienced any art in about six years. This is the first thing that’s really forced me to reconnect with it.’

“That’s beautiful, you know?”

Previously the art project was in a much quieter area but Ms Turzynski said the train station is the ideal place for the installation.

She added: “By being here we have that lovely sense of intervention where we can say ‘give yourself the gift of ten minutes to spend in the box.

“Be peaceful, have a warm drink and watch the world go by. I think a lot of people forget to do that.”

Watch the video below to hear volunteer Alex’s favourite Christmas story.

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