Honiton’s Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) has won Best Family Event for its contribution to the 2016 Get Creative Family Arts Festival, with its event Halloween Party.
The annual Get Creative Family Arts Festival is a national festival offering families an extraordinary range of arts activities to enjoy right across the UK.
Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the arts sector, the Commendations recognise the outstanding events that took place within the 2016 Festival and the exemplary family-friendly organisations and venues that participated.
THG joined 736 other organisations in delivering events as part of the festival, which took place between throughout October 2016. Around 500,000 family members attended one of the 4,000 festival events held across the UK.
THG opened the gallery from 5-9pm for an after hours family Halloween event.
The garden was illuminated with pumpkins and red hanging paper lanterns, there was pop-up cocktail bar in fairy-lit gazebo and local food stalls. Children enjoyed a treasure hunt and participated in a workshop making their own bat boxes to take home.
Inside the gallery space was a DJ playing family-friendly tracks and free scary-face-painting alonside a community exhibition featuring Eduardo Paolozzi-inspired artworks created in family and schools workshops. Upstairs in the Learning Room families made their own shadow puppets with artist Willem Montagne and then performed with them in a shadow play.
In the Project Space, families encountered exotic animals including a six foot python and had the chance to meet and, if there were brave, stroke them!
Over 600 participants of all ages attended the event .
The main departure for THG was opening late for a family event. Visitors commented that it was a good alternative this was for families on Halloween. Making full use of the garden space meant families could relax with young children and have space to socialise.
One of the visitors commented: “We went along to the free to enter night with no expectations but were greatly surprised to find the whole event well organised and very well planned and executed.
One of the best Halloween events I have ever been to. Well done to the staff.… We handled snakes, spiders, lizards and something that looked like a hedgehog but was not. Plenty of food and drink available, music from the disco and so much for the children to do!”
The Get Creative Family Arts Festival was celebrated at an awards ceremony on 14 March at Circomedia in Bristol, recognising the Festival’s most engaging family events as well as highlighting the outstanding organisers amongst the huge variety of particiapting organisations.
Fiona Page-Turner was proud to represent THG at the ceremony, accompanied by Anna Aroussi, youth volunteer Emily and Councillor John O’Leary.
Anna Aroussi, Project Co-ordinator THG said:“We are really thrilled that our family event has been recognised through this award. This is so important to us an arts venue and builds confidence with both our audiences and our funders.
“We were overwhelmed by the popularity of the Halloween Party and in fact it was the busiest event in our 16 year history! We aimed to challenge expectations of an art gallery and stretch our offer.
“The gallery became a playful, family space with a different atmosphere from the daytime gallery experience. We specifically aimed to engage families who might not be confident in visiting a gallery.”
The Festival is run by the Family Arts Campaign, whose evaluation report found that 61% of participating organisations reported an increase in work shown for families at their organisation. Since its beginnings in 2013 the Festival has reached approximately 2.2 million family members and included over 750 pieces of newly commissioned work specifically for families.
Phil Cave, Director of Engagement and Audiences at Arts Council England said: “Encouraging arts organisations to develop their family offer, and to consider the diverse needs of families in Britain today is really important.
“We are very pleased to continue to support the Family Arts Campaign, it has been a huge success to date and has reached a wide range of people. The Campaign continues to inspire artists, arts organisations and families to engage in a vast range of arts activities across the country. It provides time for families to get together and create shared memories, and to experience the power of engaging with the arts.”
To discover other family-friendly arts organisations near you visit familyartsfestival.com
(from a press release)