Thursday, 28 June 2018

. . . and Festival Fun!

a visitor to our exhibition
© Teresa Newham

It was difficult to miss the Cultivate Arts Festival last week.  For four days there were huge flags outside every participating church in town, courtesy of Harpenden Churches Together; at Our Lady of Lourdes my bunting made its second public appearance in a month, and my newly-acquired A-frame its first.

signage everywhere!
© Teresa Newham

Each church had its own take on the Festival: the  High Street Methodist Church became Narnia for a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; St John's had an installation about man's effect on the environment; the Quakers showed some paintings from New Zealand depicting the life of their founder; St Nicholas's put on a quilting display and a choral concert. There was photography, art and ceramics - and nobody wanted to miss any of it . . .

art in the Undercroft
© Teresa Newham

Our Lady of Lourdes' contribution was art and live music in the church and an art exhibition in the Undercroft, with our Summer Concert rounding off the whole event on the Sunday evening.  There's plenty of art in our church already - Stations of the Cross, icons, stained glass and statues - so we printed off some guides, set up our easels and tables downstairs and our mini exhibition and a keyboard upstairs - and prepared to greet our visitors.

mini exhibition in the church
© Teresa Newham

The Flower Group did us proud with a wonderful topiary display at the entrance to the church; inside, the choir had produced an amazing piece incorporating a music stand, a violin, a vase of flowers, a photo and a mobile of paper flowers and birds made from recycled hymn sheets.  In the entrance to the Undercroft we were delighted to be able to display some posters of works by the late Elizabeth Wang, a parishioner whose art enjoys an international reputation.

topiary, the choir display and art by Elizabeth Wang
© Teresa Newham

Our main exhibition was in the Undercroft itself, displaying the work of eight artists and several of their children.  I had no idea we had so much talent within the parish: oils, acrylics, illustration, watercolours and monoprints.  The Festival organisers had encouraged interest from non-churchgoing artists, too - a couple showed with us, while several more exhibited their work in Wesleys Cafe at the High Street Methodist church.

a variety of work on show in the Undercroft
© Teresa Newham

St Dominic's Primary School joined in with the art and the music. We were thrilled with Year 4's interpretation of the theme "Beauty Abundance Order" - a tree of clay tiles, each one representing an insect or other creature.  It made an excellent centrepiece and when the school choir came to  perform at the concert, they had great fun picking out their own tiles on the tree.

clay tiles on a tree made an attractive centrepiece
© Teresa Newham

I'd tried to find appropriate quotes to go with my watercolours and prints - some from the Bible, others favourite poems and hymns.  I'd popped the last print of  Morning Has Broken and the salt-spattered watercolour Cosmos back into frames for the occasion; they were so popular that I might have to show them again somewhere else soon.

my own display - old and new pieces
© Teresa Newham

The musical items in the church were a joy - I even managed to make a couple of discreet sketches while skulking at the back. The concert on the Sunday evening was standing room only. I was singing with the choir and bagged a seat behind a handy floral display so I could flop a bit when we weren't needed.  Everything was starting to catch up with me . . .

some sketching in the church
© Teresa Newham

All in all the first Cultivate Arts Festival was a resounding success, with our church receiving tremendous support from the parish - from the artists and performers, those who volunteered to help with refreshments or greeted visitors to the church, and those who came to look at the exhibition and listen to the music, and made such lovely comments.  Yes, it was tiring - and like most of the organisers from the various churches, I never did get round to see everything - but it was worth it!

the Bella Mamas' turn to entertain
© Teresa Newham

1 comment:

  1. A fabulous weekend - here's to the next one, hopefully even bigger and better!