Holi: Festival of Colour
Cover image courtesy of Kevin Faulkner, Solihull Photographic Society.
Solihull MBC through Heart of England Community Foundation helped to fund activities on the 19th March 2022 and Touchwood funded activities on the 20th March 2022.
Many thanks also to The Core, Tektura Wallcoverings, Aston University, Birmingham City University and Gohil Emporium who supported with resources.
The Core and Touchwood, Solihull
The event was cross-cultural and attracted a diverse audience. At least 60% of attendees were from ethnic backgrounds typically underrepresented in the arts (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).
Holi 2022, part of Art at the Heart CIC’s world culture programme, included a range of low-cost and free arts activities for local communities, The strategic aims were
- • cultural programming for diverse communities,
- • improving wellbeing through the arts,
- • diversifying audiences at The Core and
- • increasing community cohesion by bringing different communities together in diverse cultural celebrations.
Holi is an ancient Indian festival that celebrates spring, love and new life through vibrant colour. The arts activities allowed members of the community to come together and create new interpretations of Holi. Workshops included Splat Art, Bubble Art and a giant community colour weave. The traditional practice of throwing coloured powders to celebrate Holi inspired the art activities. They incorporated colour and vibrancy while allowing members of the local community to create new traditions together. The event was multigenerational. Ticketed workshops were for children, but parents and grandparents attended the event with them and were able to join in with the drop-in art activities.
Activities had accessibility in mind: they were designed to be fun and engaging for everyone regardless of their level of art experience. The support of sponsors enabled low-cost ticketing and there were various free, drop-in activities. As a result, the event reduced barriers to participation in the arts.
Sustainability was also a consideration for this event. Tektura Wallcoverings provided end of range wallpapers and samples of high quality wall coverings from international designers for the creation of larger community artworks. Catering tubs from Encore Cafe were used for mixing and storing paints. Reusable materials were incorporated into arts activities. For example, previous Splat Art workshops used single-use balloons to create paint bombs. In the Holi 2022 event, re-usable sponges were used for this activity.
The event brought a range of communities together to participate in communal activities which supported wellbeing. The Mayor and Lady Mayor of Solihull presented the competition prizes making the event really special for young people.
- • Reduced barriers to participation in the arts through cultural programming and ticketing options
- • Families from various cultural backgrounds brought together
- • Volunteers contributed 238 hours to the local community
- • 88 entries in the Holi art competition, which encouraged children to find out about other cultures
- • Attendees produced several community artworks
- • Exhibition of community artworks which remained on display at The Courtyard Gallery for a month, bringing the cultural and heritage information to a wider audience
- • 96% positive feedback from participants
- ‘Great fun for the kids’
- ‘It’s so super duper fun making [a kaleidoscope] and now I know how to make one on my own so I can make it every day at home. Thank you so much!’
- ‘I really liked [the bubble art]’
- ‘I liked the paint throwing’
- • Young people gained experience of working together within their community to create communal artworks. Attendance at cultural events has long-term wellbeing benefits (NCBI, 2012), while participation in structured arts activities develops cognitive abilities such as problem solving and critical thinking, improving children’s long-term employability prospects (Cultural Learning Alliance, 2017).
- • Families were able to attend a cultural event together without barriers such as expensive tickets.
- • 88 Children and young people entered the art competition gaining valuable experience of working to a brief and deadline, as well as getting to see their art on display in an exhibition, which brought self-esteem and confidence benefits. The competition created an opportunity to find out about different cultures.
- • Volunteers gained experience in an arts organisation and developed useful skills that will benefit their long-term employment prospects, such as event preparation and planning, teamwork, and leading and facilitating arts activities. Art Club and ArtLab students also gained valuable work experience and portfolio-building for their Arts Awards. The local community benefited from 238 hours of donated time.
- • The event encouraged a sense of environmental responsibility by recycling plastic and paper to create art. Reusable materials were incorporated into arts activities.