S-o-A Community Art Project

The S-o-A Community Art Project is supported by the Clopton Community Action Group, with funding from developer contributions made under Section 106 funding, secured from S-o-A District Council. The project started in September 2020 in the Clopton ward of Stratford upon Avon and will move to the Bishopton area of the town during Easter 2022. Project Manager and artist lead, Helen Kilby Nelson, has curated a diverse range of creative workshops and activities, taking inspiration from, listening to and working with the local community.

The focus of the project has been to provide free opportunities to as many people as possible, connecting people and giving space for creative activity.

“Starting an art project in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging and required flexible thinking and approaches. At a time where our access to activities and connecting with others was lost, this project felt even more important.”

Helen Kilby Nelson

The underlying theme for this project is language, and how the community communicates and connects with each other and its surroundings. Melissa Keskinkilinc, a local glass artist worked with children between the ages of 11 and 14 to create a bespoke glass artwork based on the theme. The final artwork will be a legacy of the project and the community centre, and will be on permanent display at the Ken Kennett Centre, Stratford upon Avon.

Performance artist and dramaturg Rosa Postlethwaite led the Clopton Community Comedy Club. The idea for a comedy club came from local resident Richard Crombie, and after regular sessions over 6 months the Clopton Community Comedy Club had their first live performance online. The CCCC is another legacy of the project with the group continuing to develop and look for opportunities to perform.

A partnership with Bishopton School has provided an opportunity to support another legacy artwork that Headmaster, Andrew Smith, has been keen to get started. In collaboration with the pupils, Leamington Spa based artist Lynne Gougeon will be brightening up a large dark brick wall in the school playground. The mural will be inspired by the history and present day Stratford upon Avon.

The art project has provided paid opportunities for a number of local artists and will have connected with over 1000 residents in Stratford upon Avon over an 18 month period. The project will continue to connect with people through the legacy artworks, groups and this website. Video tutorials for creative activities and a bumper page activity book are all available to download and view until the internet no longer exists.

Special thanks to…

The residents of Stratford upon Avon.

Local councillor and CCAG chair Jason Fojtik for his dedication, passion and enthusiasm for the local community and the arts. Extra special thanks for delivering thousands of leaflets!

CCAG Accountant, Lorraine Mansfield for being on the ball with payments.

Local resident Richard Crombie for the inspirational question “how do we start a comedy club in a pandemic?”

Local resident Rachel Meddoms for sharing her passion and skill for all things sewing, and creating and producing two online sewing tutorials.

Amelia Hawk and all the artists involved with the activity book that became a part of the S-o-A Community Art Project activity pack.

Thanks to all the artists who have provided fun and engaging activities…

Rosa Postlethwaite, Lauryn Dunn, Andy Nelson, John Scott Comedian, Melissa Keskinkilinc, Rachel Doughty, Jo Essen, Ursula Westwood, Lynne Gougeon and SPARK Music’s Josh Sealey, Sam Thomas and Clare Thomas.

Additional thanks to …

Clopton Community Action Group, Stratford District Council, Stratford upon Avon Herald

“My son and I have thoroughly enjoyed coming along to the summer workshops. I hope there are going to be more.”

Workshop participant

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