Local arts festival will ‘lift spirits’

By Jake Chown  
Monday 26th July 2021 8:46 am
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A CREATIVE network in the Forest of Dean is calling on local people to sign up for a series of arts and wellbeing-themed activities over the coming months.

Canopy Creative Network will host a number of events in August and October to promote community wellbeing in the Forest through “collaborative creativity”, including a series of “Creative Walks” and an arts showcase festival.

The team are looking for local groups and individuals to express their interest in taking part in the free activities, which will begin with two creative walks in August.

The walks, the first of which will take place on Sunday, August 1, will aim to “nurture connections” and promote mental wellbeing through a combination of spending time outdoors, gentle exercise and social interaction.

Canopy says the “relatively short” routes will emphasise the journey taken rather than the destination, and each group will be made up of a small number of participants guided by a local creative.

The second creative walk will take place on Sunday, August 22.

Then, on October 2, the network is planning an arts showcase festival at the West Dean Centre in Bream.

The festival, which is funded by West Dean Parish Council and Arts Council England, will see creative organisations from the Forest join together to celebrate the “diverse and wonderful creative talent” in our local communities.

The event will be supported by national community organisers Fun Palaces, and will provide a range of opportunities for local people to showcase their talents.

A spokesperson for Canopy said: “For nearly 18 months many people have been suffering in various ways from the impacts of Covid.

“The value and effect that the arts can have on how people feel about life is considerable.

“This festival will bring local communities together and lift spirits, as well as celebrating the diverse and wonderful creative talent available right on our doorstep.

“The range of opportunities provided will encourage young and old, families, the vulnerable, elderly and socially isolated to get involved.”

On the day of the festival, a parade will be held along the central high street involving musicians, members of local silver bands, dancers and other performers.

There will also be stalls and practical workshops involving performers representing local dance, music, theatre, poetry, film and literature organisations.

Local schools will also be invited to participate in the celebrations.

Canopy says it will will use the event as a model for hosting further events in the Forest over the next few years.

The team are looking for expressions of interest from Forest-based arts organisations, creative practitioners, caterers, schools, community groups, sponsors and volunteers.

For more information, go to canopynetwork.co.uk.

Further details of the Arts Jab can be found at funpalaces.co.uk/fun-palace/arts-jab-fun-palace

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