Our Exe-Arts project now draws to a close with very positive results and outcomes. Exe-Arts aimed to introduce artists into the community and the community members to creative activity. Our use of the word community is inclusive, so encompassing those living and working in the neighbourhood and clients or participants in any local agency services.
Exe-Arts ran both an open community programme of creative workshops and five bespoke projects for agencies in the St. David’s area of Exeter where our office is located. Art forms were diverse and included environmental art & sculpture, photography, graffiti art, pottery, fabric art, drawing & painting, lantern making, drama & break dancing and animation.
Our community sessions ran throughout the autumn months with two sessions in each art form. We also ran a family Saturday once a month which brought out many parents and children to explore something creative together. Reactions to this programme of activity have been completely positive with nothing but good feedback on the initiative. Here’s some of what people said:
“Informal, creative, friendly, free flowing.”
“Challenging, experimenting with new materials & media.”
“It supports the community. I learned to relax.”
“Brilliant! Tried clay – an opportunity to do something with my kids.”
“I think it is brilliant to have the opportunity to explore difference genres on a weekly basis. Thank you.”
“Loved it, thank you. It was also financially viable as I am currently on benefits.”
The bespoke projects ran along side the community programme with 3-4 session projects in animation, mural art, pottery, and film making. We have run projects with the Youth Offending Team, the YMCA, Gabriel House (housing run by Bournemouth Church and Housing Association), and Esther Community (residence for young people out of care or off the streets). We are just completing the final project now for the YOT in art, murals and ceramics for their garden area.
These projects have engaged small groups of participants in creative activity, encouraging them to come up with their own ideas and promoting interaction with others. We have seen some real confidence boosts in some participants and an interest in pursuing more creative activity in a few which is a very positive outcome.
A bi-product of the Exe-Arts project is the opening of the Pottery studio on the lower floor of the Exeter Community Centre. This pottery was previously used by the community for classes but had not reopened after renovations to the Centre in June, 2012. Superact managed to persuade the Centre to reopen it with the help of Patsy Lang, our resident potter and the Exe-Arts Project Manager. Now it has a working pottery which is being used by other projects as well.
Superact is now engaged in the search for further funding to continue with Exe-Arts and make it an Exeter-wide initiative. We have been in talks with the St. Sidwell Community Centre about joining forces with Exeter Community Centre to deliver the next phase. We are also looking in to developing programmes for housing and homeless shelters in the next round. Fingers crossed we can find some money!