Rural Pub Arts

Rural Pub Arts was a pilot project designed to tackle the issue of rural isolation for older people by using village pubs to deliver community art sessions. During June 2013 The Courtyard delivered free art classes for those 60 and over at two venues in Herefordshire. We worked in two locations The New Inn at St Owen’s Cross and the Tump Inn at Wormelow. Each pub had its own artist who came and delivered an art session once a week. Each group had its own focus, one looked at watercolour techniques, and another looked at crafts based skills including printing and textile crafts. Each group was run by an experienced facilitator, who supported the mixed abilities groups to develop their creative skills. This ten-week art club promoted social inclusion, wellbeing through meaningful and purposeful activity, learning new skills, making new friends and encouraging a new ‘hobby’.

The pilot was originally conceived to see if there was a way to use non-traditional settings to deliver arts projects for rural communities that did not have an established community space. The uptake was very good across both of the groups and there was a real sense of community developed amongst the groups. Our partnership with local pubs was very positive, though the traditional buildings presented quite a challenge when it came to ensuring there was adequate lighting for visual arts activities. The sessions were very well received by all who attended, and the project continued for a further 10 weeks. Following on from the success of this project Creative Ageing have spent the last few years developing a new community-led project Creative Community Champions.

I enjoyed it all, even stuff I didn’t think I would. I’ve met new people, improved my confidence, gained skills and reawakened my creativity!

Jane, Rural Pub Arts participant

I’ve been given the courage to try something new, this picture has animals in it, something I have never tried before.

Michael, Rural Pub Arts participant

It’s brought my enjoyment of painting back to me, I haven’t painted since school.

Beverley, Rural Pub Arts participant

I feel relaxed and mentally stimulated

Janet, Rural Pub Arts participant