Hearts for the Arts 2021 Shortlist – Arts E-Live

Mole Valley District Council's Arts E-Live has been shortlisted for Best Arts Project in the 2021 Hearts for the Arts Awards.

‘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 Alive is an annual arts festival running in Mole Valley throughout October each year. In response to Covid-19, the committee re-branded to Arts E-Live, and moved the majority of plans online forcing the organisers to face the technical and digital challenges for the first time and pulling them right out of their comfort zone. Event leaders and audiences were also engaging with some technology for the first time but technical support was offered to all that needed it which enabled more audience and community engagement in the festival than ever before – approximately 7,000 participants from the area got involved over the month.

Here is just a small example of the vast array of events and creative activities that took place online, or socially distanced where possible:

  • ‘Make a Comic’ workshops – which engaged over 900 children
  • Head2head’s Sensory Theatre workshops connected parents of autistic and physically disabled children with others and local SEND schools engaged in Head2head’s ‘snacks and chats’ lunchtime shows
  • Freewheelers Theatre & Media created a film about ‘Em’ – a young woman with a learning difficulty and a deep joy for life.
  • Vincent Road Street Arts Exhibition
  • Tess the Poetess’ Poerty for Grief – included a number of professional resources for anyone affected by grief or the loss of a child

And many many more.

The aim of the festival has always been that no person or group in Mole Valley District should lose their voice during difficult times. In a time of uncertainty and fear for the arts & culture sector, Arts E-live has brought hope to all those involved.

What the judges said:

“We were impressed by the scale, ambition and diversity of the Arts E-Live programme and by the enthusiasm of the many submissions we had in support of the festival. The team were able to reach significant numbers of people both locally and beyond, who attended events across a broad range of art forms and audiences. It provided social connection for many during lockdown, tackling isolation and loneliness, offering activities for every age group.”

“A huge accomplishment and powerful evidence of the tenacity and passion of an incredible team, a real celebration of local and wider arts and creatives”