Gary, the Cultural Coordinator was contacted by the famous St Helens writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce who wanted to visit Dream and record Gary as part of his forthcoming documentary for Radio 4 based upon the book ‘Sons and Lovers’ by D H Lawrence. Whilst up there Frank commented on his love for Dream and how it had inspired him along with the motto of St Helens ‘Ex Terra Lucem’, from the earth comes light, to write the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games. The documentary is due to be aired in the new year.
The fantastic Guerilla knitters wanted to do something creative for Remembrance Day to commemorate not only the day but also remember the family they had sadly lost in conflict.
The group themselves decided to do a very large batch of crochet poppies and decorate their surroundings in a creative, yet respectful way.
The ladies thought a good idea to place the poppies where they would normally sit and contemplate in serenity. At the Martin Avenue complex there is a flag-post and benches which made a perfect home for their creations. The results are so moving.
Up Ponkey are a group of mature people who came together to explore and develop their own cultural interests. Meeting once a week in the local library the group discuss many topics of local culture and plan future visits to see exhibitions and performance art. The group have recently been to see the RSC perform Hamlet in Stratford.
Gary, the cultural coordinator, recently linked the group in with student artist Corrinne to explore working creatively with cameras.
The first couple of sessions have been to get knowledge of the operation of the camera and its uses, with the longer term aim of getting the group to agree on a subject and then create a portfolio to enter in a local exhibition.
The lively workshops, ran by Corrine, has seen much fun and laughter with many of the group reliving past times when the photographs they took with an old camera often took a week or more before they could enjoy the results. Sid, one of the participants said, ‘Corrine has been fantastic with us. Its not all about focus and click, but exploring the surroundings and thinking what would make a good photograph. Who knows I may end up with a job with the local Paparazzi’.!
Corrine emailed me to tell me : “This is the first group of adults that I’ve ever taught photography to and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students. Since September I’ve had a fun experience of delivering the lessons and I’ve had the absolute delight of discovering that my students have taken the information about photography that I’ve delivered to them and been able to create and take their own photographs. I’m having a great time teaching everyone and couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with. They’ve made my introduction into the teaching world a pleasure and a wonderful experience.”
The Cultural Coordinator has taken two parties to see the world famous Dream Sculpture in St Helens. Following a talk at Rainhill Civic hall the audience asked Gary whether after hearing about the sculpture they could actually view and experience it.
The reaction from the walkers was amazing as their only view of Dream before this visit had been from a car along the motorway. ‘I’m actually moved Gary in being up here for the first time. Seeing it from my sons car is nothing compared to actually seeing it in the flesh’ said Veronica. ‘I was always sceptical of so called public art, but making the effort to come up here has been worthwhile and inspiring. I was saying to Joan on the way down that I want to go and see the Angel Of The North now to see if it gives me the same feeling of… like … inner peace , if you get my drift’.
Later in that week Gary, in a joint working project, took a party of Learning Disabled on the same fact finding tour. The results were amazing and although the group did not have much interest in the heritage of the site being a coal mine, once Dream came into sight the groups faces lit up and touching it became as much interest as looking at her.
Tony asked me, ‘is she from Liverpool?, Is it Stevie G’s (Gerrards) wife?’ he added, ‘she feels lovely, just like me mam’
A very rewarding day with plenty of smiles. The group are coming back to St Helens to meet Gary again to look around the World Of Glass.
The PSD referral group based at Helena Partnerships Martin Avenue in Newton Le Willows have received the good news that funding for the group will continue. Facilitated by volunteer artist Paula the group have been working on Christmas theme.
The group have been working on Christmas theme.
The group created felt advent calendars :
The participants have enjoyed the chat, and the craft of producing their own Christmas decorations and learning the theme of what Christmas really means.
‘I’m sooooo glad Gary that this group is going to continue. Its a lifeline to Irene and I. When I found out that the taxis could no longer be funded we got our heads together and now share one, of which we pay for. Also, we’ve (Irene and I) decided to stop all day to do knitting and crocheting with the sheltered people. It keeps us occupied and creative’
Marion a referral from PSD.
The ‘Other Ways Of Telling’ commission is continuing to explore how those suffering with mental health issues can use creativity (drama and music) to find a voice for themselves and use the arts to find positive stories and continue to perform the play that they created back in March.
The new performances took place in two venues in September, The Hope Centre and the Central Library. Both In St Helens.
The performances were very well received again with a high quality of vocal performances by the cast.
The tune ‘break free’ continues to stick in your mind long after the show had closed and the message of the stigma of mental health resonates in your thoughts.
Its a very powerful message.