We recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a series of 'Story Bocs' - book shaped boxes with Things in, each telling a tale through a mixture of visual, tactile and audio ingredients. The goal is to raise enough to create a travelling library of these, touring community spaces across the UK to raise awareness of our accessible arts experiences while providing everyone with a bit of free fun. In the spirit of our art for everyone ethos, we are also doing some workshops to get the public involved, creating Story Bocs of their own with the option to exhibit at the end of the sessions - and even send their work out on our community shelf.
We are starting in Newcastle, since that's where our Karen lives, and we've been very lucky to get funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Newcastle City Council as part of the Newcastle East End High Streets project. The project is intended to reinvigorate local high streets, getting the community engaged with creative activities run by local artists and businesses. In a nutshell, there's not a great deal to do in the dark months especially if you don't have spare pennies and so collectively we've decided to do something about it.
We are planning ten workshop sessions - all free, with materials provided (and a cuppa) where participants can tell their own stories however they please using one of our blank boxes. Anyone can make one, there's no great artistic experience required - if folks have skills and an idea they've been waiting to express then that's fantastic, bring it, but for beginners there will be plenty of advice on hand and some ideas sheets.
As part of the workshops, we will also be going over the basics of putting on a pop-up exhibition using one of our workshop venues, to take place at the end of the project. For the shy among us or those whose story is especially personal, entering work into the group show is entirely optional - it's just a chance to curate and promote a community event, gaining a bit of experience. We know there are a lot of creative people out there who want to make art and show it but don't know where to start or have faced barriers to doing so. We'll be sharing more about the workshops very soon and taking bookings - if you would like to know more you can drop us a line or follow our Tales in Sombre Tones CIC Facebook page for regular updates.