Banners of Chard

A community project creating banners
Celebrating people and place
With Somerset Art Works and artist Jenny Mellings

Banners of Chard 

Lead Artist for the Banners Project – Jenny Mellings – will develop workshops with the Chard community to co-create banners with local relevance and reference, for showcasing at the new Chard Spring Festival 2022.

Five striking banners – collective pieces, with imagery created by many different people/groups through workshops, drawn together, collated and beautifully presented by the project artist appointed by Somerset Art Works.

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

‘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

The workshops will take place from July 2021 – March 2022 (Covid allowing).
The Guildhall will host a community celebration/ sharing event in the period 28 April – 01 May 2022 as part of the new Spring Cultural Festival. The banners will also been shown at other places within the town, eg empty shops, schools, churches etc.

The workshops will focus on community, wellbeing, nature, the town centre, local history, food, culture, diversity, geography and industry. It is hoped that the journey towards the creation of the banners will be as interesting and enjoyable as eventually seeing them on display. It is likely that many more ideas and images will be generated than can fit onto the final pieces, and so the preparation itself should be worthwhile for all who are involved.

The project aims

  • 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.

Planned Activity

Launch event Saturday 10 July
11am – 3pm, Drop in workshops at the Guildhall

Chard Watch Group 
Chard WATCH reaches out and engages with isolated adults needing support. Somerset Art Works will work with the Chard Watch group through the Quiet Places for Unquiet Minds wellbeing project . The Watch group will host 12 x half day artist workshops, August – Nov 2021.  Rebecca Macpherson will work as assistant artist with the Watch Group.

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

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

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

Ruritage – Food and the High Street
Linking up with Take Art’s Ruritage 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 took place in the summer holidays 2021 and workshops with Manor Court Primary School in the Autumn term 2021.

End of Project Community Celebration and Showcase Event
Revealing the finished banners at the Guildhall, Spring Festival April 2022. Banners will be on display, drop in artist workshops, local food and drink for refreshment. During the period 28 April – 01 May 2022 with a special event on Friday 29 April.

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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