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Coronavirus lockdown: Art and craft activity downloads from Firstsite artists

PUBLISHED: 18:04 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 30 March 2020

Sally Shaw, the director at Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, is looking to help families combat lockdown boredom with downloadable art activity packs  Photo: Su Anderson.

Sally Shaw, the director at Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, is looking to help families combat lockdown boredom with downloadable art activity packs Photo: Su Anderson.

Some of the nation’s leading artists join forces with Colchester gallery Firstsite to battle stay at home boredom and keep Britain creative during the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown.

he Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, is looking to help families combat lockdown boredom with downloadable art activity packs  Photo: Richard Bryanthe Firstsite Gallery in Colchester, is looking to help families combat lockdown boredom with downloadable art activity packs Photo: Richard Bryant

Artists including Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller, Gillian Wearing, Michael Landy, Vanley Burke, Ryan Gander, Idris Kahn and Annie Morris are all joining forces with Firstsite in Colchester to help keep children and young people entertained and engaged during the current period of isolation.

The gallery has asked artists it has worked with in the past – most recently Antony Gormley, whose Field for the British Isles attracted more than 48,000 people to moderns arts venue – to help families stay creative and relieve stress whilst they stay at home, by creating a fun activity which fits onto one piece of A4 paper and doesn’t require special equipment.

Combined, the activities create a downloadable activity pack called Art is Where the Home Is, which will be available for anyone, for free at www.firstsite.uk

The activities are for everyone – though particularly perfect for children and young people to do at home along with their parents and carers. They are designed to be fun, educational and bring people together through art and imagination at this difficult time.

Everything in the pack also follows the ethos of the acclaimed Firstsite Holiday Fun programme, so each activity is designed around five critical employability skills – communication, teamwork, self-management, problem solving and resilience.

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Holiday Fun is a unique project to provide opportunities for thousands of North Essex children and families to get creative, eat a healthy meal and enjoy physical activity.

Since 2017, Firstsite has held a school holiday club in Colchester prioritising children who are in receipt of free school meals. For five days a week during school holidays children and families can drop-in to the Gallery and take part in many different types of art such as drawing, painting and sculpting, enjoy movement-based activities like football, dancing or yoga and then have a nutritious hot meal. In 2019 the initiative extended into Tendring, in particular Harwich.

The powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing was firmly established in 2017 with a report by an all-party parliamentary group called Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing. The report, which followed a two–year inquiry, found that the arts can help keep us well, aid recovery and support longer lives, better lived. Therefore, the importance of the arts at this time of national crisis cannot be underestimated.

Sally Shaw, Firstsite Director said: “The mission of Firstsite is to empower people, no matter their background, to be creative together and lead happier and healthier lives - by providing them with new creative opportunities and promoting imaginative responses to contemporary issues. Creating this activity pack is something we are able to do to help support everyone, building a virtual creative community to help combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.”

She added “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from the artist community and thrilled to be able collaborate with such amazing artists to bring their ideas to the nation and help everyone get through this challenging time.”

Art is Where the Home Is will be available to download from the Firstsite website from Friday April 3.

People taking part are encouraged to share their creations on social media using the hashtag #artiswherethehomeis and also in the Firstsite online studio,

For more information follow @firstsite on Twitter, @firstsitecolchester on Instagram, like the Firstsite Colchester Facebook page or visit the web page.


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