Best Arts Project WINNER – Arts E-Live

‘Arts E-Live 2020′ was a Community Arts Festival of 57 events in the fields of music, theatre, poetry, creative writing, children’s events, street art, craft, filmmaking and dance. Funded by Mole Valley District Council, the festival was put together by the Arts Alive committee of volunteers with support from Mole Valley District Council’s Arts Development Officer and with accessibility and inclusivity at its core

Arts E-Live has been selected as one of three winners of the Best Arts Project Award in the 2021 Hearts for the Arts Awards. In the words of our judges, here’s why:

An amazing array of stuff on offer with this celebration of the arts. Covering pottery, sculpture, creative writing, Poetry, Talks, Children’s Theatre, Opera screenings and more. Increased participation by shops forced to close. Those who were isolated due to age or illness able to tune in from home. Children’s activities. Really well done. Adrian Lester: actor and director

A real celebration of multiple art forms, combined with a dogged determination to overcome the multiple challenges presented by COVID. It has given a much-needed platform to a wide-range of artists and provided audiences with diverse content at a time when people were desperate for contact and creative output. I’m really impressed by the scale and ambition of this project! Francesca Martinez: comedian, writer, actress

This is such an impressive collaboration, and one of the best parts of that is that it includes both large organisations like the local council and also very small and specialist local community groups. This combined top-down and bottom-up approach is almost always very powerful and the comments show that these efforts produced very valuable results. Bravo to everyone involved! Helen Czerski: physicist, oceanographer, television presenter

A massive communal effort and one that brought great pride. I’m struck by the diversity of content and the initiative to respond to the pandemic by making sure their festival still went ahead. From volunteering to going over and beyond what is expected from the salaried arts officer. What is very encouraging and apparent is the willingness to leave absolutely no one behind. Le Gateau Chocolat: drag artiste and cabaret performer

Sounds like a great time was had by all and what a diverse and exciting range of arts and creative ideas make up the festival. Mariella Frostrup: journalist and broadcaster

Wow, what a turn around for what seems like a big project made of many small moving parts to develop into a massively successful online event. A well-needed event for all those artists to really get involved with something that is there for the whole community. There needs to be more of this sort of event country-wide. Paul Hartnoll: musician, composer, founder member of Orbital

This festival rose to the pandemic challenge and has demonstrated resilience and collaboration across a wide range of partners who have predominantly volunteered their time to present a cultural offer reaching 7,000 audiences across villages and towns. As the nominees beautifully said, “what a wonderful way to widen the outlook of those whose health or general mobility limits them and to show how deeply local government cares about supporting our community and its wellbeing.” I was impressed by the ambition it had to develop new audiences online and by the number of nominations this project received. Petra Roberts: Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 Hearts for the Arts Winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)

“The joy of online is that no event is too small.” A very good point. In circumstances which could hardly have been more challenging, I was struck by the reach and diversity of this festival, which really does seem to have something for everyone. “We hadn’t realised how much we needed it” is a comment that jumped out at me. At a time when despair can infect us as badly as COVID, Mole Valley District Council should be proud of the difference their support and care has made. More please. The community has clearly been touched by the energy and inventiveness of the organisers. This feeling is life-saving. Bottle it! Samuel West: actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

Read more about the nomination for Arts E-Live here

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