280 Characters (You’re Off Mute)

What if children were taken off mute? We are turning the volume up! 

Back in November-December 2020, renowned Leicester wordsmith John Berkavitch 'zoomed' his way into classrooms at Queensmead Primary Academy and Rushey Mead Primary School. He worked with the children to develop their poetry skills and to give them a voice after months of quiet and isolation, working towards the creation of a public Art Trail as part of The Spark Festival 2021.

After just 4 sessions in each school, the children produced some fantastic short poems, which were transformed into text based artworks by typographic artist Will Holmes.

The pandemic delayed the launch of the Art Trail significantly, but we are delighted to now be in a position to get the artwork created by the children out into the city... and let them be heard at full volume!

Art Trail

From 31 May – 14 June 2021, the Art Trail featured across Leicester city centre, from the Cultural Quarter, through Humberstone Gate and over to the High Cross Shopping Centre.

Children took over the city with their art!

You can find all the Art Trail locations on the map below.

Loyal Free logo

The trail also featured as a BID Leicester trail on the Loyal Free app, which is free to download here or by searching 'LoyalFree' in the iOS or Google Play Stores. Once you have downloaded the app you can also discover exclusive discounts and fun events near you!

WIN £50 Leicester Gift Card competition, courtesy of BID Leicester

Social media users were given a chance of winning a £50 Leicester Gift Card, by taking and a photo of their favourite image from the Art Trail and sharing with us via Facebook @SparkArtsFestival, Twitter @thesparkarts or Instagram @thesparkarts using #280characters. The competition is now closed.

Poem by Jack, year 4 Queensmead Primary Academy. What if we don't be mean to each other and just be friends.

About The Artists

Poet - John Berkavitch is one of the most respected voices in the UK spoken-word scene and is a former UK Slam Poetry Champion. He is an internationally acclaimed Storyteller, accomplished Breakdancer, Digital Artist and Animator.

Visual Artist - Will Holmes is an experienced designer and typographic artist, who creates typefaces and fonts for word based artworks. UK born, Will now resides in Portland, Oregon.


Supported by BID Leicester, Open Gate Trust, Didymus Charity, Carlton Hayes Mental Health Charity, Edith Murphy Foundation and Writing East Midlands. Delivered by The Spark Arts for Children