The Terrier and the arts

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A guest post this week from Kathryn GoodFellow (@forshesajolly) who not only has one of the best twitter handles ever, but does some great work around the arts in South East Northumberland.

The sight of a giant Bedlington Terrier chasing a fire breathing dragon greeted over 800 visitors to Woodhorn Museum last Sunday night. Yep, you read that right.

But, as weird as it sounds, that huge Bedlington Terrier has been a key part of a project supporting more people to create and take part in the arts.

I joined the bait team in late summer this year, a team who over the next 3 years have been tasked with working with people in South East Northumberland, to develop new opportunities for people to create and take part in high quality art.

bait is one of only 18 Creative People and Places projects across England. Arts Council England launched Creative People and Places to make a lasting change in the way local communities can create and experience art, the funding is targeted at areas of the country where people don’t usually take part in the arts.

One of our first jobs was to create links and partnerships, to open doors to new audiences and collaborators.

And that’s where that Bedlington Terrier comes in…

To get the project moving, we invited over 40 community group leaders to take part in workshops with professional artists to learn how to make delicate paper and willow lanterns. Those new skills were then passed onto groups who made nearly 400 lanterns of their own.

6 giant lanterns were also created by artists and community groups in each town across South East Northumberland, each representing a creature from those towns.

Standing at over 7ft high, a Pit Pony, a Bedlington Terrier, a Lion, a Goat, a Fish and a Phoenix all emerged from spaces across the area and joined in with the groups at Christmas light switch on events in each town. Rounding off the project, all the groups and lanterns big and small came together at Woodhorn Museum for a free celebration event.

Over 800 people turned up to hear community choirs in a big sing and join the massive lantern parade, led by a fire breathing dragon and all the large creatures. So that one Bedlington Terrier and his mates have enabled us to work with hundreds of people, to make new connections and partnerships and support people who live here to take part in an exciting arts experience.

Following the success of this project, we’re working with partners to develop the programme of arts activities and events for 2014 and who knows what weird and wonderful creatures we’ll be working with next!

For more information about bait visit http://www.baittime.to Follow bait on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/baittimeto and twitter @bait_timeto

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