The Banners of Chard

The Banners of Chard 
A Somerset Art Works community project
Celebrating Chard – people and place

The Banners were created by the Chard community, working with Somerset Art Works and lead artist Jenny Mellings. Thirty-eight workshops took place between July 2021 and March 2022, focusing on community, wellbeing, nature, the town centre, local heritage, food, culture, diversity, geography and industry. The journey towards the creation of the banners was as important as the production of the final pieces.                       

The Chard skyline runs across all five banners to link them, with different elements of Chard imagery/heritage/culture/stories in the foreground. 
Created through printmaking and textile elements, the Banners are approx 1.2m wide by 1.7m long.

Work in progress sketches for Banner designs

‘One of the key goals of the project is to find ways of bringing people back together after many months of gloom, ill health and restriction. It is hoped that we will celebrate the best aspects of Chard, its people, culture, and environment, in ways that the community can engage with, enjoy and feel proud of.’    

Jenny Mellings, 2021
The Finished Banners

The workshops took place from July 2021 – March 2022 and the Guildhall hosted a community celebration/ sharing event on Friday 29 April 2022 as part of the new Chard Spring Cultural Festival. The banners will also been shown at other places within the town and around the county, eg empty shops, schools, churches, museums, galleries etc.

The project aimed

  • To revitalise the high street through cultural activities, bringing both a wider range of people and new activities to the heart of communities and raising aspirations.
  • To encourage greater use of high streets and increase dwell time.
  • To create greater pride, sense of community and wellbeing through cultural engagement.
  • To help local organisations, communities and stakeholders to embed and sustain the benefits of the programme in the future.
  • To support the work of the overall capital programme.

Chard Museum is custodian of the Banners, to protect and maintain them into the future.

Workshop Activity

Launch event Saturday 10 July 2 x workshops
Drop in taster workshops at the Guildhall to introduce the project and meet members of the community.

Chard Watch Group 14 x workshops
Chard WATCH reaches out and engages with isolated adults needing support. Somerset Art Works will be working with the Chard Watch group through the Quiet Places for Unquiet Minds wellbeing project. August 2021 – Feb 2022.  Rebecca Macpherson assists at workshops with the Watch Group.

School Workshops – Holyrood Academy 8 x workshops
Artist Workshops in school x 4 full days, November 2021 and January 2022. 

Chard Museum 4 x workshops
4 x half day artist workshops held at the museum to explore Chard history, heritage and the museum collection – to inform imagery for the banners. October half term and during the Christmas Tree Festival December 2021.

Diverse Community Groups 4 x workshops
4 x half day artist workshops held in the town to explore Chard history and heritage and also new cultural influences and cultural diversity in the town.  

Cultivate – Food and the High Street 8 x workshops
Linking up with Take Art’s Cultivate project
4 x full days of workshops with schools and families to explore local food production and growing and the connection to the high street. Workshops to take place at local farms and in school to create imagery for the banners. Family workshops in the summer 2021 and workshops with Manor Court Primary School Autumn term 2021.

End of Project Community Celebration and Showcase Event 2 x workshops
The finished banners were on display at the Guildhall during the new Spring Cultural Festival 28 – 30 April 2022. Drop in artist workshops, local food and drink and an exhibition of work in progress can be enjoyed at a special event on Friday 29 April.

Culturally Chard – Community-led cultural activity celebrating Chard’s historic town centre.
Culturally Chard is the Chard High Street Heritage Action Zone cultural programmefunded by Historic England, Arts Council England and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. 

About Jenny Mellings

Painting is at the heart of Jenny Mellings practice, alongside photography, film and installation. Ongoing themes include landscapes, current events, space, architecture, dreams, memory, virtual worlds, nature, and the environment. She has also worked as a fine art lecturer, art history teacher, workshop leader and curator of young people’s exhibitions.

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