A new community arts initiative that showcases local artists’ work in St Albans City Centre ‘City Summer Scapes’ has launched with artwork displayed on railings outside the Museum + Gallery, the parklets in High Street and the Cathedral.
Launched this week, it is part of a new and ongoing community arts project, run by St Albans BID, that creates vibrancy and supports local St Albans artists by exhibiting their artwork in outside spaces where they can be seen and enjoyed by the public.
Founder of Collective, the unique community artistic hub on Holywell Hill, Aisha Adi says:
“Collective is a unique gallery built on a vision of inclusivity. We aim to engage new audiences in contemporary arts particularly underrepresented groups and those who have barriers to participation. We offer a relaxing space for workshops, exhibitions and events and we are proud to be very approachable.
“So, I immediately said ‘yes’ when I was approached by St Albans BID as the whole idea behind the project resonates very strongly with our vision here at Collective of giving emerging local artists a voice and providing opportunity to get their artwork seen.
“I put out a call for vibrant work that is thought-provoking and that people are drawn to. I was delighted by the response and the calibre of work submitted.”
Helen Lack is one of the local artists whose works are displayed on the High Street. Helen is an extremely successful and well-known contemporary artist whose energetic and vibrant style made her a perfect contributor. Helen has seen huge success and acclaim with her works exhibited in many prestigious galleries in London and New York. Devastatingly, Helen was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and is currently in Watford’s Peace Hospice.
Aisha from Collective added:
“I felt very passionately that an area should be dedicated specifically for artist Helen Lack who currently has a solo exhibition at Collective gallery. I wanted as much of our community as possible to view her work- it’s a fitting tribute to her talent and mesmerising art.”
Denise Parsons, Manager of St Albans BID, says:
“We hope our new community arts initiative will enhance our city centre, bringing it to life and giving it vibrancy, colour and beauty. We aim to make art inclusive for all and give people joy in the most unexpected of places.”
The first instalments, by 28 local artists, are displayed in the three areas across the city on A3 and A2 Foamex weatherproof boards.
Chris Blanch, project lead at St Albans BID, says:
“This project is all about inclusiveness. We wanted to create a stunning piece of external artwork which is accessible to all, as opposed to being inside a building. Community artwork is a passion and I love the idea of people seeing these wonderful artworks when they are wandering past, perhaps on their way to work, or whilst shopping. It’s unexpected and it makes people stop and think.”
St Albans BID approached new local art gallery, Collective, whose aim is to nurture creative talents and build a community of artists and local residents alongside engaging new audiences in contemporary arts, to work with them on the project.
City Summer Scapes, the first of the pop-up public art exhibitions runs until Sunday 29th August. There are plans to move the exhibition to Verulamium Park for September to allow for a new pop-up linked to the St Albans Food & Drink festival.
Milton Keynes Theatre opens Auditions for 14 to 19 year olds
Young people aged 14 to 19 are invited to audition to be part of the MKT Academy Young Company, offering them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in staging a professional production, from the audition to the final curtain.
Participants will work with director Kitty Benford between January and April 2022 to create their own version of the play Like There’s No Tomorrow for NT Connections. The play was originally devised by the Belgrade Young Company with Justine Themen, Claire Procter and Liz Mytton. The Young Company will perform their new production at Milton Keynes Theatre and the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, with the potential to perform at the Connections showcase at the National Theatre in London.
Alexandra Snell, Senior Creative Learning Manager said: “We are really excited to have been selected to take part in NT Connections 2022 and can’t wait to work with a brand-new group of local young people. This topical play feels extremely relevant to our current generation and I am sure the company will make something truly innovative.”
Like There’s No Tomorrow will be a fast paced and vibrant show that focuses on young people and how they feel about climate change and the inaction of the adults around them. This production by MKT Academy Young Company will highlight the unique relationship that Milton Keynes has with the topics of climate change and capitalism, as well as exploring the links our citizens have to other parts of the world that are impacted by climate change. The show will be high energy, feature ensemble storytelling, movement and music and hopes to gather all the resources required in an eco-friendly manner.
Auditions are taking place on Saturday 8th January between 11am and 2pm. To book your place in the audition workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as performers, Milton Keynes Theatre would like to hear from young people with an interest in directing and stage managing.
Milton Keynes Theatre is also looking for local sponsors to support this exciting project, which would offer young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to take part. If you would like to help, please contact the theatre’s Sales and Development Manager, Linda Davies on: email@example.com
What the jingle bells is going on at The Galleria?
The true identity of a very festive intruder, spotted on CCTV arriving at The Galleria, has now been confirmed as none other than Santa’s most esteemed helper… the scout Elf! As per Christmas tradition, the scout Elf has been tasked with keeping an eye on guests…he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice! And this year, it seems that Elf has decided to take residence at The Galleria for the month of December – watching guests, appearing here and there around the centre and of course already getting up to his world-renowned mischief!
To celebrate the Elf’s arrival, The Galleria has launched an official Elf Hunt and is encouraging Elf hunters to take s-Elfies and share them on social media with the hashtag #GalleriaElf.
Chief Officer of Christmas at The Galleria, commented: “When we arrived at the outlet on 1st December, we were stunned to find one of Santa’s infamous scout elves had moved in overnight. We’re incredibly excited at his arrival and have launched The Galleria Elf Hunt, inviting guests to seek out his hiding spots. So far the elf has stayed true to his reputation of causing a bit of havoc so we’ll make sure we keep an eye on him during his stay.”
As well as the Elf Hunt, guests to The Galleria can enjoy seasonal entertainment from local community groups on selected dates along with supporting East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals Charity and Lister Hospital’s Children’s Ward by donating a Christmas gift at The Giving Tree.
For more information about the Elf Hunt and Christmas events at The Galleria, visit https://thegalleria.co.uk/articles/elf-hunt
The Gym offers Three Counties the chance to go ‘swear zero”
Winter is coming, Christmas is calling, and while Santa is still busy in his workshop, The Gym Group has a present for the nation that will spread yuletide cheer and positive energy in equal measure.
To keep everyone feeling good, both mentally and physically this Christmas, The Gym Group has teamed up with sustainable business owner Montana Brown to launch its campaign for the festive season, Sweat Zero. Montana has swapped the board room for the iron paradise and in partnership with The Gym Group, is offering everyone, no matter what their fitness goals, the chance to zero out on all the goodies and treats we all deserve to enjoy.
To make good on this promise, from today, The Gym is offering 5,373 free three-day passes, to those in the South East of England including The Three Counties – which is exactly the same number of average calories consumed by an adult on Christmas Day.
Speaking about the partnership, Montana said: “After the wash out that was last Christmas, we all deserve to celebrate this year. But finding a balance between keeping active and indulging can be very difficult (especially for me as I love Yorkshire puddings!). That’s where Sweat Zero from The Gym Group comes in as it’s helping the nation to enjoy the festive fitness period with free passes, allowing you to give the gym a go. No matter who you are, your shape or size, The Gym Group will help you stay active and get your body moving this Christmas so we can look after our bodies physically and mentally to make the most of the big day / the whole Christmas period in my case.”
Like the term Net Zero, Sweat Zero is all about helping to strike a balance between living your life and being fit and healthy by removing any of the guilt which can come after some serious Christmas overindulgence. Whether you want to burn off the Baileys or bench press the brussels with a three-day free pass guests can visit any of the 200 nationwide The Gym Group venues, to experience their high spec kit across cardio, weightlifting, toning and class zones plus unlimited classes and access to a team of highly qualified personal trainers.
Redeeming the free three-day pass is super simple. Just visit The Gym group website, find a gym near you, choose a day passes membership and three-day pass, then select the dates and enter the promo code SWEATZERO.
The Gym locations in the Three Counties
The Gym Bedfordshire
The Gym Luton
The Galaxy Centre
1 Bridge Street C1
The Gym Bedford
Alban Retail Park
The Gym Buckinghamshire
The Gym High Wycombe
Red Lion House
The Gym Aylesbury
6-8 Great Western Street
Friars Square Shopping Centre
The Gym Milton Keynes
The Gym Hertfordshire
The Gym Watford
Imperial Park Imperial Way
The Gym Hemel Hempstead
Leisure World Jarman Way