The Sunshine Project 2012

The Sunshine Project is an intergenerational community involvement project linking mature/elderly groups and young volunteers across South Wiltshire during the late spring and summer of 2012.

The project creator, international community artist Alex Grant, has worked closely with many mature/elderly groups and arranged accessible workshops in local town and village venues to include as many mature people as possible who wanted to try doing something new and artistic.

The artist’s previous research across mature groups has shown a strong need for new stimulating activities that would empower and enable them both as individuals and as small teams. This project aimed to provide a series of workshops that would be challenging and creative, of a high standard, and on a scale that is not generally available.

“Thank you so much, on behalf of the Residents for the two Batik flag painting sessions you held at the Almshouses. The Residents thoroughly enjoyed themselves and felt a great sense of pride that they had participated in something totally new. Our 102 year old resident is still talking about the event!”

New links with education (e.g. Avon Valley College) enabled young people to be trained as community volunteers to assist within the local workshops for the older people. This always led to creative interaction and lively chatting across the generations as they all worked together to create the designs.

Guided by Alex, a total of 402 mature attendees and 130 new volunteers used their feelings, emotions and life experiences (“What have you seen? Where have you been?”) to design, wax and then dye these 138 large Batik Flags for this colourful installation in the grounds of the Cloister garden in Salisbury Cathedral.

“You have managed to draw in and include members that always seem to be on the periphery, sitting; non-participatory. The kindness and skills of the artist have made a huge difference to all our lives!” Sheila

“The colour and flowing movement of these flags will definitely draw many people to view and experience these expressions of creativity from mature people, whose lives can sometimes feel quite isolated. This is a wonderful opportunity for people of different ages and backgrounds to take part within a major Arts and Community event, giving them a creative voice, in a stressful world, that has seldom been heard up till now. And it’s FUN!” Alex Grant, the project artist

“I’ve had a wonderful time doing these Batik things! Never knew I could do anything arty at my age” Mary, 97 years young

This project was made possible by the local community arts charity Circular Arts, working in partnership with Salisbury Cathedral

Funded by:

  • Trusthouse Charitable Foundation
  • Arts Council England
  • Arthur James Paterson Charitable Trust
  • Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Symonds Family Donation
  • Salisbury City Council
  • Southern Area Board
  • South West Area Board
  • Salisbury Area Board
  • Circular Arts
  • Coutts Charitable Trust
  • Nicholas & Harris

Residents show their creative side

9:22am Friday 27th July 2012 in News By Elizabeth Kemble of the Salisbury Journal.

RESIDENTS at Raglan Court and Pembroke House got together to decorate batik flags during an afternoon of colour and creativity.

The group, who took part in the Sunshine Project, were helped along by Alex Grant of the Circular Arts Company.

Raglan Housing’s community initiatives officer Matt Crucefix said: “The Sunshine Project is looking to address issues of isolation, loneliness and disability through art and this is a fantastic way  of doing that.”

The flags will form part of a large installation in the Cloister Garden of Salisbury Cathedral throughout September.