Inspiring artist leaves work all over Wisbech to 'get people talking'

Artist Tim Mann has put work all over Wisbech.

Artist Tim Mann has put work all over Wisbech. - Credit: Tim Mann

Pieces created by artist Tim Mann have been appearing across Wisbech in many shapes and sizes. 

It's part of his 'You Are Important' project, which launched in November 2021.

The project's aim is to increase self-value and promote self-worth to local people, engaging with the community of Wisbech to create art which encourages both empathy and empowerment.

It is funded by Arts Council England and Fenland District Council, with support from a host of local establishments.

A red road sign stating "You are important" in bold letters.

A digital graphic created by Tim Mann as part of the project. - Credit: Tim Mann

Tim Mann stood by a wall of outlines on a blue background.

Tim Mann's 'You Are Important' project has seen community-focussed art appear across Wisbech. - Credit: Tim Mann

Tim told the Wisbech Standard: "I have been accused of being a social missionary..."

"...Instead of people fighting, we're trying to get people talking."

Around 40 pieces have been created for the project so far.

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It all began in 2018, when the artist invited people from Wisbech to help him create a piece, in which he drew their outlines and layered them on top of each other.

Tim Mann draws the outline of an individual.

The project began when the artist drew outlines of local people, telling them "You are the most important person in the World!" whilst drawing. - Credit: Tim Mann

Before drawing every outline, he would tell the individual "You are the most important person in the World!".

This had a marked impact on the people involved in the piece, with some even breaking down in tears.

Since then, the emphasis on promoting self-value has been at the forefront of Tim's mind, and has shaped his art in recent times.

One example saw the artist, with help from Nene and Ramnoth School, create butterfly wings on a wall.

Tim Mann standing between the butterfly wings.

Tim Mann's butterfly implies that small changes can make a big difference. - Credit: Tim Mann

He added: "It's about the idea of the butterfly effect. 

"One little motion of a butterfly wing can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world."

Another piece has seen the artist use the medium of cards to get local people telling each other that they are important, in a range of different languages.

A group of cards stuck to the ceiling.

Participants were asked to write the names of people who are important to them inside the cards. - Credit: Tim Mann

Some wrote about family and their parents on their postcards, before they were included in the artist's display.

Tim also explained of the importance of a soft approach to art, in order to prevent people being scared of having a go.

The reaction to his project has been largely positive from the Wisbech Community, but the artist spoke of how the challenge of negative comments is good because it gets people to discuss the subject.

A painting of a heart with the words "you are important" written along the side.

Speaking about Wisbech, Tim Mann said: "It's a strange town with so much potential, it's an awesome place!". - Credit: Tim Mann

Asked whether he was worried about potential vandalism with community artwork, Tim spoke of how he had included a group of vandals in the production of one of his previous pieces - the Vertical Garden - so that they were less likely to vandalise it.

On Wisbech specifically, he said: "It's a very strange town with so much potential, it's an awesome place!"

He continues to claim that art brings economic value to the area of Wisbech, and makes people feel that they are important.