From September to December 2017, the Gig-Arts Charity has been helping young disadvantaged and disabled artistes from Banbury and Bloxham. The Bloxham Gig-Arts Project, was generously sponsored by Bloxham Mill Business Centre.
Each month, the young people were encouraged to build their confidence and communication skills through art, music and dance. The group of amateur artistes delighted in painting an array of colourful canvases and developed their skills in creative clay modelling. They also bravely stepped forward to sing and dance in front of their peers.
As a grand finale, on Tuesday 5th December, everyone involved gathered at Bloxham Mill Business Centre for the highlight of the Project: The Gig-Arts Show! The group presented their stunning artworks; put on an extravaganza of festive tunes; and danced in front of an audience of more than eighty business professionals. What a triumph!
Following this exciting project of celebrating unique creative talents, the enthusiasm rolls on. Plans are now in place to hold a Gig-Arts gathering in Banbury once a month on a Monday throughout 2018. There will also be a grand tour of the mosaic painting created during the Project.
Enormous thanks to Bloxham Mill Business Centre for their sponsorship and encouragement!
Our Bloxham Gig-Arts Programme of Events is underway! With generous sponsorship from Bloxham Mill Business Centre, we have been able to establish a once-a-month Gig-Arts event in Banbury in September, October, November and December 2017. Welcoming local people of all abilities, this programme is designed to foster creative confidence and enterprise skills.
Abbie Cooke, Founder of the Gig-Arts Charity said, "We are overjoyed about receiving sponsorship from Bloxham Mill. This generous support will enable more than twenty young people to build their confidence and creative skills. It will also enable them to showcase their creativity at a grand showcase finale at Bloxham Mill on Tuesday 5th December."
Gig-Arts Sponsor, Ray Avery, who is the Managing Director at Bloxham Mill Business Centre said, “When I first met this inspirational group of talented people I was overwhelmed with admiration and emotion. I know that our December showcase will be no exception. As a notable contributor to our local community, Bloxham Mill is somewhat inundated with requests for sponsorship. However, I can honestly say that sponsoring Gig-Arts is one of the quickest and easiest decisions I’ve ever made.”
Gig-Arts had a sensational summer to autumn season of fun. We launched our summertime activities at Witney Gig-Arts in July. This was an outstanding event that united young people of all abilities from Abingdon and Witney College, Base 33, the ICE Centre and Banbury Style Acre. It was an amazing mix of creativity with a magnificent finale of art, music and dance.
The enthusiastic outreach from the Witney Gig-Arts overflowed into the following months. Throughout August and September a series of summer fun arts and crafts classes took place in Carterton. Everyone was delighted by a host of creative themes ranging from butterflies and bees to beaches and BBQs! And as the Autumn leaves now turn red, gold and bronze there's a continued flourish of colour in our popular weekly art classes.
The Wonderful Witney Gig-Arts Event was an outstanding success! Wearing their purple t-shirts sponsored by Dare Investments, the 40 participants from Abingdon and Witney College, the ICE Centre in Carterton, the Base 33 Charity in Witney and the Banbury Style Acre joined forces to take part in the creative enterprise day.
The event was held at the Corn Exchange in Witney and kicked off with rock star musician, Jem Tyler, who is the Head of Music at Gig-Arts. He got everyone out of their seats, clapping and cheering as they sang along with him playing the guitar. Fully enthused, everyone was inspired, listened to stories of enterprising adventures and created colourful artworks for their local community.
In the afternoon, we almost raised the roof with an electric atmosphere of cheering as we welcomed on stage the beautiful and brilliant dancer, Grace Willlow, who is soon to become Head of Dance at Gig-Arts. Grace captured everyone’s heart and trained everyone’s arms to wave along with the fast beat of the music. She was sensational! Everyone loved her Bollywood Dance Session.
Fully warmed up, we then launched into the finale of the event, the grand Gig-Arts Show. With musician Jem and dancer Grace leading the performance, all the participants came into the limelight showcasing their talent for singing and creative movement. With red, yellow, green and blue banners waving, everyone got involved and gained confidence. It was a resounding success.
The whole event was brilliantly captured on film by Maggie Boyd who has produced a video of the day. Do check out the video section of the Gig-Arts website to have a closer look at what happened at the wonderful Witney Gig-Arts Event. Sincere thanks go to everyone who helped to make this event possible.
The grand finale of the Banbury Gig-Arts Project was an outstanding success! Participants of all abilities who are seeking employment flocked to be a part of their final day of outreach experience which was held at the Bloxham Mill Business Centre.
With Bloxham Mill’s newly furbish state of the art Oak Room full to capacity, the Gig-Arts teams took their seats and waited in nervous anticipation as they were each invited to leap into the limelight and present themselves. It wasn’t long before each participant plucked up the courage to step forward and acknowledge their learning journey. Many had started the course of Banbury Gig-Arts Events as long as six months ago and along the way had gained confidence and more self-esteem. Boldly they took the microphone and shared their achievements. For some, there were tears of emotion while others basked in the joy of receiving a rapturous applause.
The Gig-Arts participants were very fortunate to receive pearls of wisdom from three business professionals at Bloxham Mill; Ray Avery, Graham Hickman and Jan Burnett. The Q&A session was highly engaging and everyone felt encouraged and supported by the friendly atmosphere.
A highlight of the event was an announcement from Ray Avery, Managing Director of Bloxham Mill Business Centre, who said that each participant on the Banbury Gig-Arts Project was invited to come back and gain further work experience at the Business Centre: Some individuals will assist with arranging flowers in the office foyer; others will learn about deep cleaning techniques; some will assist with filing papers and many will create artworks and songs to inspire and entertain the business professionals at Bloxham Mill’s Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday 5th December 2017.
Abbie Cooke, Founder of Gig-Arts and Leader of the Banbury Gig-Arts Project said, “Congratulations to everyone who took part! The Banbury Gig-Arts Project was funded by the Skills Funding Agency, Futures and the European Social Fund and it simply would not have been possible without their support – We are all incredibly grateful.”
Moving forward there is much opportunity on the horizon. The 30 or more participants will each continue to be trained by the Gig-Arts Charity on a monthly basis with the highlight being the Bloxham Mill Business Centre's Christmas Luncheon in December 2017. This new venture will be sponsored by Bloxham Mill Ltd. An enormous thank you to everyone!
The Banbury Gig-Arts Project is in full swing with a highlight visit to the newly refurbished West Bar Veterinary Hospital in Banbury. The visit was designed to inspire young people of all abilities to gain confidence, develop employability skills and find work experience opportunities.
During their visit, participants enjoyed a tour of the veterinary hospital where they met two dogs and a cat. They also gained inspiration from the veterinary staff who encouraged them to work hard and reach for their dreams.
This visit follows a series of monthly gatherings across Banbury at the Mill Arts Centre, the Frank Wise School, Second Time Around, Redlands Day Care Centre and Banbury Style Acre. The Banbury Gig-Arts participants have gained enormously from the Project. They have also enjoyed helping to make a beautiful life-sized clay horse head sculpture with the master sculptor, Carl Payne, who sculpted the famous Banbury Horse Sculpture at Banbury Cross. The horse head has been toured around Banbury over the past five months.
Sophie Hanmer, Veterinary Surgeon and Partner at West Bar Veterinary Hospital said: “ This is an exciting project! We care for a full range of domestic pets and large farm animals, so it is highly appropriate that we should host the stunning Banbury Horse Head Sculpture.”
Gig-Arts held a dynamic Creative Enterprise Gig-Arts Event at the City of Oxford College Dance Studio on Thursday 16th March 2017. More than forty creative college students, of all abilities, took part. The students teamed up to gain enterprise skills, create colourful artworks and put on an exciting stage show for the local community. The theme for this event was 'Dance' - And to celebrate this genre of the Arts there was a glittering showcase from world-class Tango Dancers, Miriam Orcutt and Dante Culcuy, founders of the Oxford Tango Academy.
Abbie Cooke, Founder of Gig-Arts said: "Gig-Arts Events are an excellent opportunity for young people in the Arts to learn how to develop their talents and forge a career in the Creative Industries.” Miriam Orcutt and Dante Culcuy were delighted to be the guest stars at the event and exclaimed, “It is a pleasure to inspire young people to express themselves through dance and encourage them to follow their dreams."
Chris Hyde, Director at the City of Oxford College, and Co-organiser of the event added: "The Oxford Gig-Arts Event is an ideal opportunity for our creative arts students to gain the confidence and expertise required to gain employment. The combination of enterprise training and community outreach offered by Gig-Arts fits well with our objective to ensure our students are employment ready."
Special thanks goes to the Oxford Gig-Arts Event sponsor, Dare Investments. Martin Dare, Managing Director of Dare Investments, who commented, " Dare Investments and I are delighted to be part of Oxford Gig-Arts. The City of Oxford College provides an important role in the education ladder - Bridging the gap between skilled professionals, business and education - An area of the UK economy that the Government is enthusiastically promoting."
Following the Oxford Gig-Arts Event, the impact of the day rolls on. Dance inspired artworks from the event have been presented to Oxford-based charity Yellow Submarine. And the colourful wooden sculptures that the students collaboratively made on the day, are being presented to a local school.
This Oxford Gig-Arts Event marks the grand finale of a trio of events held in partnership with Activate Learning - Events have been held over the past four months at Banbury and Bicester College and at Reading College. A huge thank you to everyone involved!
We're looking forward to inviting our Banbury Gig-Arts participants to join us again on Tuesday 21st March from 12 until 3pm. This second outreach visit will be to the Second Time Around furniture restorers in Banbury. A bus will be taking participants from the Banbury College Reception to the Furniture Restorers at 12.45 pm - It's going to be a fantastic afternoon and work experience opportunity! Special thanks goes to our funders, the European Social Fund, Futures and the Skills Funding Agency.
The Second Time Around Furniture Restorers in Banbury - A great work experience opportunity for everyone who loves to be Creative!
Gig-Arts had a fantastic February afternoon event at the Frank Wise School in Banbury! Student participants from our launch event, which was held at the Banbury Mill Arts Centre in January, joined us again for another exciting work experience opportunity. Everyone registered for the event and then one-to-one discussions took place to explore ' how creative talents can be applied in the workplace.' There was then a formal presentation of the Gig-Arts Banbury Horse Head Sculpture which had been collaboratively made by the student participants. Dean Cooke, Head of the Frank Wise School Sixth Form Centre, received the sculpture from Abbie Cooke, Founder of Gig-Arts. The event concluded with everyone at the sixth form centre enjoying an opportunity to watch the Banbury Gig-Arts video - and to take part in a live music and dance finale! Our special thanks go to our funders, the European Social Fund, Futures and the Skills Funding Agency.
Registering for the event.
Participants gather to discuss their talents and work opportunities