Throughout July, ceramicist Rachel Ho and artist and designer Micah Purnell are leaving 240 beautiful gifts dotted around Manchester for people to find and keep. Called Gift to the City, the massive art trail by Passion Art hopes to remind us to embrace our stories of loss and self-worth.

The two local artists will leave over £4,500 worth of free art dotted around Manchester city centre from today until the end of July. Amongst the treasures are 120 Kintsugi pots and 120 ‘You Are Enough’ oak engravings, ready for the public to find and keep as gifts.

As part of the project, Rachel and Micah have teamed up with Chapel in the Fields, which uses woodwork to help people with mental health vulnerabilities. A small number of protective boxes have been made by a group for Rachel’s pots, while others have helped to finish Micah’s engravings with danish oil.

Rachel Ho is a ceramicist whose work is inspired by Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold, resulting in more beautiful and precious pots. “The pots symbolise the fragility of our lives. The scars are then filled with gold lustre,” she explains. “They express the mystery of new beginnings and new life even in our deepest pain. The pots represent all our stories of loss and reflect the beauty of hope, healing and renewal. I am drawn to clay’s delicate nature. I aim to make work that evokes a sense of beauty and mystery. Just as ancient pots have told stories for thousands of years, I aim to use my pots to tell stories of healing.”

Micah Purnell, whose clients include The Guardian, Elbow and the NHS, is an award-winning text-based artist who has exhibited in group shows alongside Turner prize winner Douglas Gordon and global street artist JR. He is also renowned for his typographic work that took over Wembley Park during the Euros works to bring the humanities to public spaces. His well-known phrase, You are Enough, has appeared across the city over the last few years as giant banners and billboards. “My work is a lot about togetherness and self-worth. I hope the phrase ‘You Are Enough’ will help people cut themselves slack from society’s ever-demanding voices and recognise the spark of beauty in themselves.”

Each gift will be accompanied by an invite to share anonymously how the artworks resonated with those who find them at www.gifttothecity.org, where you’ll be able to read stories of difficulty and hope, as the artworks are found.

The Passion Art project is dedicated to founder Lesley Sutton, who, after five years of living with a terminal illness, is drawing very close to the end of her life. Lesley founded Passion Art to build bridges between sacred and secular spaces through art and help people feel seen and less alone, recognising we all have our daily battles and creating a sense of hope and healing.

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