South Kesteven District Council’s Cultural Services team, based at Stamford Arts Centre and the Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham, are proving that a little bit of escapism and some enjoyable online events can go a long way during lockdown.
Audiences, patrons and participants have been singing the praises of what a little art can do to soothe the soul in this turbulent time.
Cllr Rosemary Trollope-Bellew, Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy at SKDC, said: “Maintaining a connection with patrons and practitioners has been a priority for the team throughout the pandemic.
“Our online programme continues to offer high-quality events across many creative disciplines. We have been delighted with the levels of engagement and positive responses to this work.”
The online events and workshops presented by the Arts Centres, which are either free, or charge a small ticket price, provide arts activities to the district while the buildings themselves remain closed. With so many different online arts events and workshops to enjoy, the programme has received excellent feedback in recent weeks.
One participant, attending the regular Poetry Swaps held on Zoom, contacted the team saying: “…such a warm, intense, inspiring evening…you do a fantastic job. The chat at the interval must have helped people to feel less isolated as well as being uplifted by the wonderful evening(s) you put together. The experience has certainly put a spring in my step helping me navigate these uneasy times.”
Those joining in with regular Cinema Speaks on Zoom (like a book club, but for films) were also keen to point out the benefits of the events, saying: “Being able to discuss what we have seen with a small group of people, sharing our views, is such a pleasure. We don’t always agree, and that is part of the enjoyment. Ben is an amazing facilitator of discussion, everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
“The whole experience both educates and entertains. We are immensely grateful to Ben and Stamford Arts Centre for providing some important contact during the lockdown, Cinema Speak offers stimulation and human contact when both can be lacking.”
Local artists have been meeting online too, providing opportunities for many of those whose work has been hardest hit by the pandemic to network and share ideas.
One said: “This is a wonderful initiative. Thank you so much for caring about artists and crafters and giving us such wonderful support.”
If you’d like to learn more, or find out what’s on, go to www.stamfordartscentre.com or www.guildhallartscentre.com
If you’re an artist living or working in South Kesteven then you can join the Creative Network SK Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3374495882611246