Connecting Communities through Creativity
Whilst 2020 didn’t quite go according to plan, our commitment to stay in touch with our neighbours and local community partners amidst a pandemic has only strengthened connections. Challenges have brought new opportunities to be creative and connect with those locally. Here are some moments that brought us joy and inspiration.
Light in the Dark
‘It was a truly joyous experience watching lots of happy families enjoying the grounds’ – Visitor
During the evenings of October half-term, the Compton Verney park was glowing with light. More than 200 Lanterns, decorated and made by local community groups shone around the park. Contributions came from after school children’s club Go Go Makers, families at Kineton MOD, Escape Arts, year 8s and 9s students from Futures Institute school and volunteers. Visitors who came to see the installation were able to participate by changing the colour of the lights in the lanterns. This project welcomed in the changing season and was created in response to the Museum of the Moon installation by artist Luke Jerram.
Inspired by works in the collection and Luke Jerram’s installation, Museum of the Moon. We collaborated with members of the Chinese Community Centre Birmingham to celebrate the annual autumn Chinese Moon Festival. Via zoom, we shared stories, memories and poetry based around the theme of the moon, experiences of The Moon Festival and what significance the Moon has across cultures.
These wonderful poems and words helped transform our woodland and Forest School site into an interactive light trail including, secret messages, glow in the dark and UV objects and stories for all ages to explore and enjoy.
Pick Me Up Packs
During the Summer Holiday period we developed creative packs for families to use while visiting Compton Verney. These were full of art resources, suggestion sheets and templates to encourage families to Be Playful, Be Curious, Be Creative.
We recognised how important creative activities are, particularly during such challenging times and wanted to support our neighbouring families. We contacted the Trussell Trust foodbank and Kineton St Peter’s Church Fosse Food Bank. One Hundred packs and day passes were distributed through the charities to local families in the Coventry and Kineton area.
Performers and Outdoor Innovators
Creativity and inspiration come in many shapes and sizes, and this year we’ve supported arts practitioners by hosting (when possible) COVID19 secure performances and installations in the park. Highlights have included, the Fire Garden delivered by Walk the Plank, Music of the Spheres by Eye Music Trust, where musicians and acrobat performed in giant bubbles whilst floating on the lake! And creative signage developed by Birmingham artist Foka Wolf which explored humour and its connection to Kindness.
GIANT Advent Calendar
‘It has nurtured an art community’ – participant artist, Andrew Field
We invited artists from the local community to help turn our Georgian mansion house into a giant 3D advent calendar. This project was a celebration of local talent, showcasing 24 artists from diverse creative backgrounds such as, textiles, design, ceramics and printmaking. We extended the reach of this project to those who may not have been able to see it in person, by revealing a different artwork each day on social media. We were thrilled by the huge response this project received and are excited for future collaborations.
Volunteers at Compton Verney
Whilst we try to navigate uncertain times our volunteers have stuck with us, they continue to provide support to almost all areas of the organisation and we’re grateful for their time, creativity and enthusiasm. A focal point this year was helping to decorate the site for Christmas, which involved wrapping giant wellingtonia tress in beautiful red bows! Celebrating our first-ever Christmas opening.
There are many different volunteering opportunities, follow the link to find out more.Volunteer With us
Keep your eye on…….
As we roll into a slower paced 2021, we continue to work with communities behind the scenes. Here are a few projects to look out for in 2021.
Throughout January and February, the grounds team at Compton Verney will be planting a wildlife hedge on the edge of their parkland. The hedge will be 160m long and 2m wide, and will contain over 800 native trees ranging from Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Wild Cherry to Oaks, Limes and Field Maple. These new habitats will form an area invaluable for insects, small mammals, farmland birds and raptors.
The trees will provide early nectar and late fruits, and will also ensure important nesting habitats and shelter against the wind and weather.
The trees have been donated and distributed through a local farming and wildlife group. This project contributes to the ongoing habitat creation in the outer parkland, which has recently included, introducing new Barn owl boxes, and adapting mowing regimes to support longer grasses throughout the winter months.
SCHOOLS AND ENGAGEMENT OUTREACH
As we begin a new year we are all faced again with the challenges of lockdown, home working, home schooling and teaching online! We know how difficult lockdown can be, especially with young children. We want to support families by staying in touch with our local schools and communities during this period of time.
As part of our Engagement Outreach, we are donating 3 annual local passes to families across the local area, every week. This will be supported and distributed to families through local schools.
We hope new families can enjoy spending time in the grounds for some fun, exercise and inspiration. Later in the year, fingers crossed, access to the indoor collections and gallery spaces!
At the time of writing, our grounds are open for exercise to members who book in advance. Please see our website for the latest information.
CREATING TOGETHER, ARTISTS AND THE COMMUNITY
For the up and coming 2021 exhibition, artist Rebecca Louise Law will be working with several community groups, who will contribute to the exhibition and help form part of an immersive, natural installation, called Seasons.
Local Banbury secondary schools Wkyham Park and Futures Institute will contribute along with SEN school Welcombe Hills. Compton Verney is supporting the schools and students achieve their Art Award qualifications and Artsmark Award.
In addition, we’re teaming up Starfish Collaborative to support local adults based around Coventry and Warwickshire access creativity for positive mental health and social change.