Before another exciting year is upon us let's take a look back and celebrate all our favourite aspects of 2018 as well as talk a bit about what we hope to see more of in the new year!
What an amazing year of art we have had and that amazing year is primarily down to you! You, the creative movers and shakers, events organisers and community workshop facilitators! You, the event goers and audience supporters! You, the art appreciators who shout loud and proud about what our amazing arts community have been doing! You, for supporting all of these events either with your time, money, enthusiasm or all three!
Below is our celebration of the year that all of you have been a part of. You are the ones that make art thrive and come alive in the community!
There was a feast of musical, theatrical and comedic entertainment at the Gaiety on Friday 7th December, with the first Manannan's Winterfest Christmas concert. Organised by Malcolm Stitt and David Kilgallon, it featured Mera Royle, Alexandra Slater and Dot Tilbury amongst many others.
It is hoped that the Winterfest will become an annual occasion, and one that will welcome the Christmas season in at the Gaiety for many years to come.
Funded by Culture Vannin, 2018 Year of Our Island and the Isle of Man Arts Council.
Oie Voaldyn Fire Festival was a sound and light spectacular with torch light parades, bonfire and fireworks on May Summer's Eve.
Funded by Culture Vannin and the Isle of Man Arts Council. It was a huge success with so many out on Peel Beach on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
We were thrilled to fund so many community events over 2018. This is part of a wider trend in the arts and the Arts Council are seeing an increasing number of applications for the running of arts and music festivals such as Dark Horse, Cyclefest, Manx Litfest, Isle of Man Film Festival, MADF Festival of Plays, The Great Manx Shindig and TheatreFest.
The Great Manx Shindig held its very first family friendly festival this summer featuring loads of homegrown musical talent as well as a heap of creative workshops and local producers.
The Isle of Man Arts Council funded a circus skills workshop at the annual Dark Horse IOM Music Festival.
Image by Thomas Walmsley
Annie Kissack was inaugurated as the Manx Bard earlier this year and has so far wowed us with her words. Here she is at the fantastic annual Manx Litfest.
We cannot wait to see what Annie gets up to over the course of 2019.
See Annie Kissack's latest poem on Culture Vannin's Facebook Page.
There has also been a significant increase in awareness of arts for wellbeing and the benefits of social prescribing which we believe will continue to gain momentum in 2019. Over the past year we've seen more applications from members of the arts community to put on creative workshops around the island. We've seen a huge range of workshops for adults and children at The Isle Gallery. Balley Cashtal Beg and Mannimation have also inspired the imaginations of children this year with their creative projects.
Balley Cashtal Beg is Manx for Little Castletown run by the very talented, Eve Adams. Eve has been curating so many exciting community events for families including fairy door trails, arts and crafts inspired by folklore and local customs and much more!
I'm absolutely overjoyed and delighted to share the news that Balley Cashtal Beg is now kindly supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council! Keep your eyes peeled, things will be VERY exciting in Balley Cashtal Beg over the summer!
- Eve Adams.
Janet Lees has held numerous Creative Writing workshops in Port Erin's Creativity at the Hub, the Earroo Nane Community Centre in Jurby, and a highly successful series of workshops centred around mental health, death and addiction at Noa Bakehouse in April with fellow creative writer, Christina Thatcher. In the healthcare setting, Brush Strokes Art Group have been running sessions at the hospital for stroke patients. Within the government setting, we've seen an increased uptake of members to the Government Staff Choir who achieved great success by winning the Guild this year.
We could not believe how many people wanted to share. These were powerful words, shared with honesty, from the heart. There was sorrow and loss, and there was joy and humour too. We went over our time at Noa, and we’re very grateful that they let us! We really wanted everyone to have the opportunity to share.
- Janet Lees at Noa Bakehouse for a Wellbeing Weekend in April. Photo by Ian Pilbeam
Artist, Colette Gambell demonstrating ceramics at a workshop at Artreach Studios and the Isle Gallery.
The Government Staff Choir outside the Villa Marina after winning the Guild this year.
For the Fallen
For the Fallen was performed in April. It was an original drama written and directed by John Young about the Manx experience in ww1 using actors from the local community from a range of backgrounds and experiences – later turned into a radio play in November for the centenary on Manx Radio.
The play was performed by a local cast made up of a range of ages and experience. For some it was their very first time performing on stage and they all stood up brilliantly to the challenge!
It’s proper community theatre, a really wide range of different people from the Island bringing their own history to life.
- John Young. Read the whole interview.
For the Fallen was performed by a community cast at Studio Theatre Ballakermeen.
Community Textiles Project
The Arts Council funded a community textiles project to commemorate the end of the First World War.
The project was founded by Gill Nicholls who called for people to help her make 2,152 poppies to represent each injured or fallen solider. The donated poppies were combined to create a Manx Flag in honour of the sacrifices made by local people during World War One.
The Isle of Man Arts Council has celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the collection with a series of exhibitions. In 1993 the Arts Council initiated an innovative project for taking contemporary graphic art into the community. Within a relatively short space of time the collection is made up of over 400 pieces, which are divided into small groups and lent out to schools, libraries, the prison, public buildings and galleries.
Red Dog by Craigie Aitchinson
As part of Year of Our Island, we had the very first month long dedication to celebrating Creativity and Innovation. There was an increased focus on artists and creatives across social media and the month featured key events such as the Arts Festival 5th-7th and ISLEXPO - An exploration of what makes the Isle of Man a top location to start, grow or relocate a business on the 16th.
The Isle of Man Arts Festival was even bigger and better this year with island artists participating across locations.
A peek inside Frauke Watson's studio where she creates all sorts of wonders from beach combing missions. Image from the Creative Network page.
We are seeing an increasing number (and appetite) for more public art appearing around the island and it's great! The Arts Council have funded works by Karolina Pawlowska’s (see her Loaghtan Sheep in Castletown below), StedHead murals in Castletown, and Jimmy Duggan’s works in Douglas.
Karolina Pawlowska working on her Loaghtan Sheep during the Arts Festival in Castletown over May Bank Holiday Weekend. We interviewed Karolina about the process which you can read here.
StedHead Art recently finished this mural on Castletown Police Station. Follow StedHead Art on Facebook.
And finally, something that has been particularly inspiring to see is how many examples of grassroots collaboration between members of the island's arts community have sprung up in the past year. We are seeing the continued success of the Creative Network going from strength to strength with their annual Arts Festival. The Keird Collective: a group of young females creatives have been popping up all over the island over the course of the year offering their own homegrown version of creative workshops and events.
The Keird Collective have been popping up all over the island and are pictured here at their Hop Tu Naa event at Pinewood Studios in October.
The Longhouse Collective at Grenaby have been wowing us all with their combined talent, and events such as the Creative Industries Meetings at Noa Bakehouse (as well as its accompanying Facebook Group), events at the Engine House, Gefachella and Islexpo have all embodied this growing trend for collaboration. They are all a reflection of how much there is an appetite for Creatives to meet, collaborate share knowledge and learn from one another.
And speaking of amazing creatives...
We are so grateful to all the people that we interviewed this year. We've rounded up all the best bits in a separate blog post! Read it here!