Valley & Vale Community Arts – Mobile Arts Bus

Completed, People

Valley & Vale Community Arts – Mobile Arts Bus

Project Type

People

Project Funding

Reach "Lets Innovate" Grant

Project Funding

Valley and Vale

Project Brief

Valley and Vale Community Arts is a long standing local Community Arts for Development organisation. Their ethos is to use creativity to promote positive change in people and places. 

The organisation creates and delivers tailor-made community arts workshops, training programmes and projects through various art forms, including drama, film, dance, animation, photography and visual arts. Located in Betws, Valley and Vale works throughout the county, delivering these diverse projects to engage people of all ages, involving them in creative activities with a view to releasing their potential and bring about positive change to their lives..

Reach Help

Valley and Vale identified that it was difficult for people in some rural communities in the Borough to access the organisation’s creative opportunities at their location in Betws. In addition, there was a lack of community centres or suitable spaces for them to work from. “We wanted to address the issue of rural isolation and take creative opportunities and activities to people across Bridgend County,” explains Alex Bowen, Director of Valley and Vale Community Arts.” “We came up with the idea of an ‘Art Bus’ to take our community arts and projects on tour,” she adds. Valley and Vale applied to reach for funding under the “Lets Innovate” grant, which resulted in reach financing £10,000 towards the total project cost of £13,357.90 to purchase and equip the bus. Valley and Vale provided the remaining funding required.

Outcome and Impact

“The Art Bus has created a lot of interest and has helped to engage more people in isolated areas where there are few creative opportunities. It’s stimulated increased participation and more active communities and groups in those areas,” says Tracy Pallant, Film Development Worker for Valley and Vale.

Participants in these communities have had the opportunity to attend digital story telling and media workshops, where local people learn skills in media production and create a living archive of changing rural lives. The bus attends local events but also organises ‘Flash Mob’ spontaneous creative events or activities and randomly turns up in a community to make things happen.

The bus is very popular with young people and offers School Holidays Arts Clubs or days in places where they are not currently offered. “The bus is fun and modern and young people in particular really gravitate to it,” adds Tracy.

In addition, the bus promotes outdoor learning activities on the road, including camping trips or woodland workshops. In July 2013, the bus supported the Inner Compass project, taking a group of young people from isolated areas of Bridgend to walk the coast and creatively document their trip. The walk from Bridgend to the Senedd in Cardiff culminated in their meeting Carwyn Jones, the First Minister for Wales, where they were able to present their perspective on young peoples’ lives in Wales.

“The Art Bus really helps people in isolated areas engage in creative activities they wouldn’t normally do. Valley and Vale will continue to fund staffing for the bus, creating sustainability and it will be used by us for many years and creative projects in the foreseeable future”

Alex Bowen

Director, Valley and Vale Community Arts