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Keepsake (2021)

Start: January 1, 2021
End: May 31, 2021

Cultural experiences you can treasure

Keepsake is a project to reduce loneliness and isolation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Through 11 artistic commissions delivered across North Yorkshire, Rural Arts will provide creative experiences and opportunities to over 700 people, increasing their wellbeing and connecting them to a sense of community.

Seven local visual arts practitioners have each been commissioned to create a unique participatory experience to reach 50 people in one of North Yorkshire’s seven districts. Commissions include craft packs, a community quilt and a stay-at-home exhibition.

Four performing arts commissions – including audio plays, a virtual dance experience and a specially composed song – will explore loneliness and community from diverse perspectives.

We’re thrilled to share here one of those commissions – Roses Around The Bend, by Cassie and Maggie. This song, inspired by the resilience of North Yorkshire’s residents, celebrates the careful optimism felt as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic

As well as supporting local communities and developing individual creativity, the commissions invest in community-based, unfunded and underrepresented artists. Artists from these groups face heightened difficulties securing work during the pandemic.

Rural Arts worked with a range of partners to reach some of the county’s most isolated people. Each commission has been specifically designed to be enjoyed without physical interaction with others, and will be available in a range of accessible and offline formats.

Another commission, Ask For Sophie by Kerrie Marsh was a free telephone play exploring rural isolation in LGBTQ+ communities.

When audience members rang a number, a chatty and eponymous character called Sophie answered the call. The audience member played the role of a silent caller to an LGBTQ+ support line for people in rural areas. You can listen to a recording of the play below.

If you enjoyed listening to Ask For Sophie, we encourage you to check out writer Kerrie Marsh’s website here, and consider making a donation to Yorkshire MESMAC. Yorkshire MESMAC provide services for LGBT people across North Yorkshire. You can find out more about their work and how to make a donation here.

Above: Patches from The Selby District Community Patchwork Project created in collaboration with Tadcrafters. Click on the images above or here and here to see more of the patches in a slideshow.

Keepsake is funded by Arts Council England.

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