Culture and cakes
Words: Lyn Pardo
Images: Lyn Pardo
Spital Arts are a group of friends and neighbours who are interested in the arts, and who put on events for like minded people in the area.
We started off at a party when some of us were about to retire. We have long known that our four streets contain a wealth of talented people, and we decided to put on an exhibition of their work. That first 'Arts Spectacular' showcased photography, calligraphy, painting and lino cuts, jewellery and crafts. In the evening we had a fashion show and concert, and it was all well received.
Since then the events have split into two strands, the arts exhibition every summer, and evening concerts and events running throughout the year.
We have received sponsorship over the years, enabling us to buy a stage, a screen and a basic sound system. Our local Councillor and the Central England Co-op have been most generous. We also bought cushions for the chairs at St Leonard's Mission, where we hold all our events, so our guests can sit in comfort! We have our own tables which we make available for other users of the Mission. Our mugs feature three of the artists we have enjoyed.
All our events involve cake and I am convinced that is why people return, loyally, so often. Some of our bakers are legends, and we try to always have a gluten free choice.
Over the six years of our existence we have added to our artist list and have watercolours, pottery, printing, woodworking, quilting, enamelwork, stained glass and more. Work is exhibited either as a display or as a selling stall. So long as the artist has a Spital link, all are welcome, and we are very fortunate to have so much talent locally.
Our evening events have included music from soloists, bands and choirs; dance; a spinning and weaving workshop; plays; films and storytelling with accompanying installations. We have some events from the Live and Local support network, which enables us to put on events we could not otherwise afford. We maintain a mailing list so interested folk will always know what is coming up, and we have a comments book at the Arts Spectacular Exhibition where potential exhibitors can get in touch. A lot of our artists make themselves known in this way, or by word of mouth, as we are all local.
We publish a guide to forthcoming events which is available at events and at the local Tourist Information Centre. We also have a Facebook page.
Recently we have provided a card reading facility, and tickets are available from Eventbrite in advance. People can book online and by phone, so it is easy to come, whatever your circumstances. We do sell out some events, so make sure you are on our list!