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Newbury arts organisation up for national award as lockdown outreach project goes on show

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The Corn Exchange has been shortlisted for a national award for the Best Age Friendly Outreach project and The Base, Greenham, will celebrate the artwork created during lockdown in an exhibition on Thursday and Friday next week.

It will showcase the work of local people who received weekly packs from the Corn Exchange as part of its Contactless Creativity scheme and has been curated by local artist Simon Jardine and the Corn Exchange Ageing Creatively co-ordinator Katy Stevens. Funded by the Coronavirus Community Support Fund and distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, Contactless Creativity enabled those who were shielding or who did not have access to the internet to keep creative and feel connected at a time when they may have been having less frequent contact with their friends and family or were unable to take part in their usual activities or pastimes.

The Corn Exchange has been shortlisted for the Best Age Friendly Outreach project in the national Fantastic for Families Awards and the winner will be announced in November.

Contactless Creativity
Contactless Creativity

Each week between August 2020 and February 2021, a different artist developed creative activities that could be accessed online or, for those who did not have access to the internet, were delivered as a pack to homes by one of a team of volunteers. The recipients received an audio message from the artist that gave step-by-step instructions for a creative exercise, as well as a piece of work created by the artist that could be enjoyed at home. Kennet Radio also featured a weekly interview with one of the artists and offered a telephone service for participants to call to hear the instructions.

More than 100 participants signed up to be part of the project and 23 local artists prepared packs with activities ranging from painting to mindfulness.

This exhibition will display the work of around 20 participants as well as some of the artists involved and will explore the impact of cultural engagement in the arts on the wellbeing of the West Berkshire community during lockdown.

The Base, Greenham
The Base, Greenham

Corn Exchange engagement manager Hannah Elder said: "It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate the creativity and community engagement which this project enabled during lockdown. We’re honoured to have been nominated for the Fantastic for Families Award and are really pleased to be continuing to develop our work connecting with our older community through our funded programme, Ageing Creatively."

The exhibition will be open from 10am to 4.30pm. Entry is free but visitors are advised to book tickets in advance for either a morning or afternoon slot via www.thebasegreenham.co.uk or box office on 0845 5218 218. (Calls cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge).

More information about the Corn Exchange’s Ageing Creatively programme at www.cornexchangenew.com

Newbury Corn Exchange by Phil Cannings
Newbury Corn Exchange by Phil Cannings

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