Why we’re lighting up Exchange Quay Manchester

Celebrating the light amid the dark

This Christmas we’ve embarked on an exciting charity initiative centred on the theme ‘Art is Light’. In celebration of the positive influence creative expression can have on people enduring the darkest of times, today – Monday 13th December – has an important significance for Hattrick.

With a Swede at our helm this special date in our calendar is Lucia day. A somewhat bizarre but heartwarming Nordic tradition that marks the start of the Christmas season and, for us, represents the true meaning of the holidays. Friends, family, togetherness and generosity of spirit. 

The theatre around the occasion tells the story of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy). A maiden wearing a white gown and candlelit headpiece braving the cold to carry out acts of kindness – bringing love and light to her community in the mid bleak winter months (vintersolståndet).

Young Swedish children excitedly participate in processions across the country, enacting the fable in fancy dress. The chosen Lucia in her white gown featuring red sash and, of course, the all-important brightly lit crown is accompanied by ‘tärnor’(handmaidens), ‘stjärngossar’ (star boys) or ‘tomtenissar’ (Christmas elves). If you’re intrigued about exactly what Lucia entails you can enlighten yourself with this tongue-in-cheek take here

But there is a serious and uplifting message around these quaint and quirky rituals. One that has shaped our collaboration with two social art projects – Manchester Street Poem and Make Bank. Both initiatives are passionate about showing young people ‘Art is light’ for those tackling mental health, social isolation and similar circumstances and should be accessible to all. 

Together we’ve created a large-scale piece of street art that’s been a month in the making. In Manchester Street Poem’s distinctive black and white style it shares the inspiring stories of three young people that have found solace in capturing their thoughts and feelings through brushstrokes. 

You can watch the piece come together here 

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