Back in June this year, Team AOTH applied to take part in The Epic Awards – an annual celebration of the achievements of voluntary arts groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland – run by Voluntary Arts promoting activities led by communities for their own benefit.
We were delighted to make the Epic Awards shortlisted projects, meaning that we met the Voluntary Arts’ 4x EPIC criteria to be put forward for their award :
Engagement: Who volunteered their time to make it happen? What did they do?
Partnership: Which other volunteers or organisations got involved? How did you all work together?
Innovation: Did volunteers work in a different way or try something new?
Creative development: How did the activity help volunteers develop their creativity?
Here’s what we said… we hope you agree!
To date, involvement with Art On The Hill Newport (AOTH) has been on a voluntary basis – even our own – and therefore defined by everyone who participates each year. We encourage people only to give what they can afford, whether that be time, energy or resources. Community groups and local businesses offer window space or open just to take part in the arts trail. People open their homes to host artists and artwork and neighbours run between venues distributing maps and put up posters promoting the event.
We enable participants to celebrate who they are, to promote themselves and their resources in our community, without prerequisite or agenda, other than to champion the cultural profile of Newport. AOTH has created opportunities for artists (amateur and professional) to share and sell work, to network and meet others, as well as learn new skills by participating in the trail. Empowering artists to celebrate their practices, it has inspired opportunities for work and collaboration.
AOTH has been particularly successful in building partnerships between independent, charitable and local authority venues in the city. AOTH’s reputation of being an event that empowers creativity and innovation has been prevalent since the art trail began. The trail has become a calendar event for participants to focus their creativity and research, and produce new work to share with art audiences in the city. In 2019 we supported our first projects seeking funding for art trail activity. Our festival partner Cwtsh worked with artist Andy O’Rourke to deliver Mandala workshops with local primary schools in the area to create public artwork for the art centre. We supported Leigh Davies ‘Playces’ application to the Arts Council of Wales for a production grant to build kinetic cardboard sculptures exhibited as part of the festival. We have also seen a number of artists, such as TEMMAH and Gary Martin (aka Jack of The Suburbs) go on to take part in international events as a result of taking part in AOTH.
AOTH has helped to profile and develop the creative identity of Newport to local audiences as well as people further afield in Wales and England. It has helped our community feel more positive about Newport as a place to live. The trail encourages increased physical and mental activity, getting people to speak to others taking part in the trail through a shared interest in the arts, reducing social isolation in the community and improving people’s quality of life in Newport. We have had feedback from audiences that they enjoy dis-covering new areas of the city as a result of taking part in the art trail. Creating opportunities for people to spend time and meet others in their locality has helped create a sense of well-being and a positive perception of arts activity in this area of Newport. Bringing together multiple venues over one weekend, it has increased our community’s access to a diverse scope of artistic activity at any one time. It has helped reduce barriers for participation and improved engagement between organisations and members of the public. It has helped build relationships between artists and audiences too.
voting for the Epic.
Voting for the #EpicAwards2020 has now ended, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything ourselves! You can keep up to date with the latest AOTH news here – find us on social media:
Here’s a list of all groups that were also short listed for this year’s award – read more about them by following this link to the Voluntary Arts website: https://www.voluntaryarts.org/Pages/Site/epic-awards/Category/epic-awards-shortlist
The Joy of Sound – The Krar Project adapted a traditional instrument used by Eritrean and Ethiopian communities to provide inclusive music opportunities.
Sahyadri Friends Group – A group of Indian women founded this Coventry group to combat isolation and share creative skills.
Magpie Dance – Dance project ‘Hidden Impact’ explored the untold stories of the contributions made by people with learning disabilities during WWI
Keynsham Snap & Stroll – Peer-led creative photography group in North East Somerset building local connections and self-esteem
Jestaminute Community Theatre – This Redditch theatre group’s production brought local heritage, well known stories and local residents together
GrowFest19 – A two-day community festival celebrating the heritage of Newcastle-under-Lyme shared traditional creative skills
Foleshill Creates – Local creative group in Coventry use weekly sessions to benefit their own wellbeing and connect across the city
Flowers For Life -This Nottinghamshire project uses gardening, floristry and craft to inspire locals and improve their well being
Fascinating Rhythm – A film collaboration between a 60-strong female a capella group near Bristol and a local Down Syndrome charity
Eltham Arts Wall Project – More than 2,000 people of all ages contributed to this multimedia project exploring creativity and people’s different barriers
Comhaltas in Britain – Volunteer-led organisation took their annual celebration of Irish culture to the streets of a Cumbrian town
Art4Space – South London residents transformed their local community centre through mosaic and ceramic work
Stirling Photography Festival – Volunteer-run festival championing local and global artists
Spit It Out Project – Edinburgh-based collective using art to heal trauma
Comrie Cinema Club – Volunteer-run Perthshire group that brought the big screen to a small village
Castlebay Christmas Tree Project – Yarn bombing project in the Outer Hebrides that went global
Campsie Fest – Intergenerational bi-annual arts festival in Glasgow
Bridgend Eco-Bothy – Volunteer-led project in Edinburgh that created a new community space
BeeKind – Bee-inspired show that brought an Aberdeenshire community together
Heritage Theatr Cymru – A theatre group in Wales that explored the story of underprivileged women, prostitution, and a murder in 1908/9
Gŵyl y Ferch – Founded in 2019, this volunteer-run social venture created a festival celebrating creative women of North Wales
Celf-Able – A disabled-led inclusive art group that is now running in 5 locations around Mid-Wales
Avant Cymru – This South Wales hip hop theatre company brings a diverse range of local and international partners together
Tullyvin Musical Society – Bring a little piece of Broadway to a small rural area in Ulster
Moon Base Projects – A positive environment for people to express themselves creatively
Five Lamps Arts Festival & Hub – A growing event delivering multiple artforms to combat local crime
Care for Creation – Inter-faith public art project celebrating the environment with local community
Bluebell Community Development Project -Driving social change against poverty and exclusion through community projects
Find out more about Voluntary Arts here: >>> https://www.voluntaryarts.org/
TTFN – Team AOTH xxx
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