Growing runner beans, teaching juggling online, and other exciting projects from Artspace

We’ve been missing our friends over at ArtSpace Cinderford, so this month we’re checking in.
Here’s how they’re coping in the face of the changes Covid-19 has brought to our creative community spaces.

When we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, Artspace usually run a range of inspiring arts courses and activities for people of all ages and abilities, from painting and drawing to pottery, printmaking and circus skills. We run workshops both from our building in Cinderford and on an outreach basis within our community. We work with schools, care homes, and many local social groups to name but a few.

Lockdown for Artspace has meant putting our regular programme of face- to-face workshops and activities on hold and trying to move as much as we possibly can online. This has proved to be no small task and has meant a steep learning curve for all of us… However, looking at what we are now doing, we are proud of our efforts and are looking to the future and how our newly developed digital skills can be put to further use.

What we’re up to…

In partnership with the Foresters Forest project and the Wye Valley AONB, we have launched a brand new range of video tutorials and step-by-step activities to enjoy during lock-down and beyond. We release a brand new activity guide and video once a week on our Facebook page and the series is available to download from our website.

As soon as we shut to the public, we opened up the doors to our virtual online gallery. We have had over 200 entries from all over the world! People can join in and submit a piece of work – or even take part in one of our drawing challenges which we launch from our Facebook page.

With funding from Adult Education Gloucestershire, we are offering people over the age of 19 the chance to be part of a unique project that celebrates the power of creativity during social distancing and ends in an exciting exhibition. Our ‘Distance Learning’ courses, provide kits of materials and tuition from professional artists, at home, with support over the phone or via zoom. We will enrol over 100 people onto these programmes.

We are keeping in touch with our mindSCAPE project participants (people with dementia and their carers) over the phone and on Facebook. We’ve been offering creative activities online, where the group have been connecting with each other and posting photographs of their creations. We sent them all some runner beans and an impressive, back garden runner bean growing contest is currently underway!

Finally, believe it or not, we are still managing to teach people to juggle! We’ve been really enjoying running NHS funded circus skills workshops for vulnerable children and families using Zoom and Padlet.

Challenges we’ve faced…

Our main challenges have been learning and adapting to doing things differently. All of a sudden we have been thrust into a world where we need to completely re-think our delivery methods and have been on a crash course learning how use as myriad of different apps that we’d never used before.

Although challenging, this has proved incredibly rewarding, with apps such as Zoom and Padlet set to become part of our new normal. We’re also finding new ways of making the most of Google’s GSuite, exploring collaboration tools to help us while staff are working remotely and exploring the possibilities offered by ‘Google Classroom’.

If you find yourself getting creative thanks to ArtSpace, why not share the results by tagging us on our Twitter @ilabnetwork and @artspacecind !

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