An exhibition celebrating artwork created during lockdown will be taking place at The Base, Greenham on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October. The exhibition will showcase the work of local people who received weekly packs from the Corn Exchange Newbury as part of its Contactless Creativity scheme and has been curated by local artist Simon Jardine and the Corn Exchange’s Ageing Creatively Co-ordinator Katy Stevens.
Funded by the Coronavirus Community Support Fund and distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, Contactless Creativity enabled those who were shielding or who did not have access to the internet to keep creative and feel connected at a time when they may have been having less frequent contact with their friends and family or were unable to take part in their usual activities or pastimes.
This innovative scheme has been shortlisted for the Best Age Friendly Outreach project in the national Fantastic for Families Awards and the winner will be announced in November.
Each week between August 2020 and February 2021, a different artist developed creative activities that could be accessed online or, for those who did not have access to the internet, were delivered as a pack to homes by one of a team of volunteers. The recipients received an audio message from the artist that gave step by step instructions for a creative exercise, as well as a piece of work created by the artist that could be enjoyed at home. Kennet Radio also featured a weekly interview with one of the artists and offered a telephone service for participants to call to hear the instructions.
Over 100 participants signed up to be part of the project and 23 local artists prepared packs with activities ranging from painting to mindfulness. This exhibition will display the work of around 20 participants as well as some of the artists involved and will explore the impact of cultural engagement in the arts on the wellbeing of the West Berkshire community during lockdown. Participants will attend a preview event ahead of the public viewings on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October.
Hannah Elder, the Corn Exchange Newbury’s Engagement Manager says ‘It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate the creativity and community engagement which this project enabled during lockdown. We’re honoured to have been nominated for the Fantastic for Families Award and are really pleased to be continuing to develop our work connecting with our older community through our funded programme, Ageing Creatively.’
The exhibition will take place at The Base, Greenham on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October from 10am to 4.30pm. Entry is free but visitors are advised to book tickets in advance for either a morning or afternoon slot. Tickets can be booked at www.thebasegreenham.co.uk or via the Corn Exchange Newbury Box Office on 0845 5218 218. (Calls cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge).
For more information about the Corn Exchange’s Ageing Creatively programme of work, please visit www.cornexchangenew.com or call 01635 582666.