My regular calligraphy class has been given a real boost after receiving funding from The Cultural Spring.
We have exciting plans for the next term after receiving £810 via the Your Art scheme, which is designed to get community groups to develop their own artistic ideas and organise arts events in their own communities.
Grants of up to £1,000 are available through the rolling programme, with 16 community groups in total sharing more than £10,000 in the latest round to be announced.
Ours was one of the largest and it will allow the group, which came together under the auspices of the Cultural Spring and now runs independently, to further develop their calligraphy practice and also gain and understanding of its history and heritage.
Doreen Arrowsmith applied for the funding on behalf of the 10-strong group, which meets every Thursday at Westoe Crown Community Hub, in South Shields, during term time.
Calligraphy and illuminated lettering
The Your Art application was based on a project inspired by The Lindisfarne Gospels, featuring illuminated lettering as well as calligraphy.
The funding has allowed us to bring in guest artist Graham Hodgson to run some illuminated lettering sessions, while I will be teaching uncial script to the group for the first time.
The grant also covers the purchase of new materials to experiment with and the cost of a trip to view – and hopefully handle – a facsimile of the Lindisfarne Gospels at The Parish Church of St Mary & St Cuthbert in Chester-le-Street.
The Lindisfarne Gospels, a manuscript produced in the Northumbrian island monastery of Lindisfarne at the end of the seventh century, in honour of St Cuthbert, is one of the world’s masterpieces of book painting and a precious relic of early Christianity in England.
At the end of the 10-week course, we’re hoping to have a selection of our own illuminated letters and pieces of writing inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Your Art funding eligibility
The Cultural Spring is funded by Arts Council England and aims to increase participation in the arts and culture in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
Since its launch three years ago, it has invested around £70,000 in local communities through the Your Art scheme.
To be eligible for a grant, those applying must live or work in Sunderland or South Tyneside and be part of a community association, or an informal, unconstituted group with a bank account.
The idea must be arts focused and must be something new.
Emma Horsman, project director for the Cultural Spring, said: “More and more community groups are becoming aware of the Your Art fund and how we can support their arts activities.”
The Cultural Spring’s Autumn 2017 programme is now underway, including calligraphy session with me at The CustomSpace in South Shields on Wednesday evenings, from 6pm to 8pm, starting on September 20 and running through to November 15 (excluding October 25).
For more information and to view the full schedule, click here.