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Lockdown art #1: an introduction

Anna Glarin, Community Programmes Co-ordinator at Coin Street Community Builders, introduces a series on locally-created lockdown art to be published in the coming weeks as part of the Festival.

The Over 50s Art Group has been going at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre since 2008, and members have come and gone over the years. Currently we have a regular group of around 20 participants who attend fortnightly sessions led by artist Eleanor Watson. In the sessions we explore artists and art movements through a variety of media, and more than anything, it’s an opportunity to socialise and explore art in a friendly and informal environment.

Wellbeing and lifelong learning is at the heart of what we do. We are currently funded by National Lottery’s Community Fund and this has enabled the group to make trips to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Blenheim Palace, as well as establishing art lectures which enable in-depth learning about artists and their work.

Working alongside other local artists, we had planned a very ambitious art-installation in the St John’s courtyard for this year’s Waterloo Festival, but as the severity of this pandemic hit us, we understood we had to change our approach. Eleanor created a fantastic activity workbook from which participants can be creative and make art at home; and the art lectures are delivered via Zoom. This has certainly helped many cope with the isolation during the lockdown. Our community has had to transform in so many ways and think of new approaches to keep people engaged and creative, and it makes this year’s theme of Transforming Communities even more poignant.

In the coming weeks we will present some of the work created by these artists at home during this time of lockdown. Enjoy!

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