Community Arts

What do we mean by Community Arts?

Community Arts is a way of describing creative activities that bring people together in their communities and give people the opportunity to gain new skills and new opportunities.  Community arts aims to nurture the potential that exists in all communities to be creative, to find a voice and express themselves through the arts.  Guernsey Arts Commission aims to provide opportunities for people who through economic and social circumstances have little access or means to participate in arts activities.

The principles behind arts in the community are access and participation.  We believe everyone should have the opportunity to expand their ideas, skills and creative potential. All should be able to participate in the creative process regardless of their age, ability, experience, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, economic situation or geographical location.  Taking part and being creative are of equal importance to final work produced and how it is viewed.

Benefits and beneficiaries

Benefits of participating in the arts at a personal level include increased  confidence, improved self esteem and a sense of one’s place in the community, new creative and digital skills and improved social skills.  Working as a community, participating in the arts can involveteam building skills, neighborhood improvements, working together towards a common goal, creating a forum for discussion and possibly the creation of public artwork.

In 2007, the ‘Developing the arts in Guernsey’ survey found that 92.9% of those surveyed would like to see increased opportunities for involvement in the arts.   To address the lack of opportunities, a Community Arts team was formed with the Community Arts Development manager’s role being funded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation.  The trained artists in the team have a multitude of skills across the arts and work in many different community settings.

The Community Arts team has gone from strength to strength over the last year and is planning to expand public activities this year with a Lantern Parade in March alongside Art on the Beach in June and Dance Month in August.  Behind the scenes, they will continue their outreach activities with young people at Les Genats and Les Martins estates as well as their ongoing partnership work.

Styx Young People

Beneficiaries include children, young people, older residents,  prisoners and their families,  health service users and many others.

Arts in Health

The power of the arts and creativity in contributing towards personal health and wellbeing is becoming increasingly recognised by health providers.

Guernsey Arts Commission has recently signed a five year agreement with the Health and Social Services Department to provide creative activities for patients and their families as well as staff at Princess Elizabeth Hospital and other locations. We will also be exploring ways to improve the physical environment in these settings through temporary exhibitions as well as the design of spaces.

Activities in the pipeline include:

  • Artist in residency at Princess Elizabeth Hospital to consult with hospital staff and service users and research how to use the arts to enrich the environment and experience at the hospital.
  • Curation of artwork displayed in the hospital.
  • The Reader project sessions
  • Music initiatives
  • Dance classes for ladies affected by cancer.

Arts in partnership

Guernsey Arts Commission works in association with a range of government departments and agencies including schools, Youth Services, the Probation Service, health agencies, schools and the College of Further Education, the Prison, the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Group, Guernsey Policy and many others.

Activities in the past year and 2014 include:

  • Free workshops for children in a variety of arts skills including half term and holiday sessions
  • Family arts events e.g. Dance Month and Art on the Beach
  • Tailored workshops for schools e.g. Anti-bullying sessions.
  • Weekly outreach sessions at Les Genats, St Martins and The Space with the Artsmobile involving animation, pop art portraiture, light shows, dance and other art forms.
  • The development of an Arts in Health initiative with Health and Social Services Department at Princess Elizabeth Hospital.
  • A mural at the Mind Centre in collaboration with service users.
  • Lantern making workshops with schools and other targeted community groups leading to the Lantern Parade on Saturday 1st March 2014.
  • Gigs and low cost music lessons for young people in association with the Styx (Western Parishes Youth and Community Centre)

Norman Piette kindly sponsors the Artsmobile, a van acquired in 2010 and equipped to accommodate small groups for outreach activities.  With its pink branding, the Artsmobile is recognisable and popular with young people particularly in the estates on dark evenings.