What is Percent for Art?
Our Percent for Art team comprises of four arts officers who are based in our Community Investment Team and work across all areas of Bolton. Our arts officers work with residents, community groups, partners and other community stakeholders to develop socially engaged arts projects that help to improve our communities and benefit customers.
We commission appropriate artists or arts organisations, to work with the local community, and we manage the project from start to finish.
The Percent for Art service actively encourages individuals and community groups to get involved in schemes that can offer creative solutions to neighbourhood issues.
Ideas for arts projects can come from our neighbourhood teams and they will focus on specific neighbourhood priorities or be developed through conversations with community groups, partner organisations or other community stakeholders. Sometimes local arts projects are developed through wider Greater Manchester, regional or national networks or funding.
Our service also offers advice and guidance to our partners with regard to developing arts projects involving other social housing customers across Bolton. We have also been commissioned by partners to project manage a number of community arts and public / environmental art projects in Bolton.
Projects can be in any medium including visual arts, performance, music, crafts, digital art and film. They can take the form of arts based consultation, skills and confidence building projects, arts in health & wellbeing work, festivals and celebratory arts, as well as streetscaping and environmental arts projects designed to enhance the physical environment.
2012 Create on the Estate
Funded by Bolton at Home, this project has grown out of an earlier pilot project called Shakespeare on the street. Children, young people and adults have been offered opportunities to take part in performing arts and take to the stage at venues local to where they live, and also at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton’s town centre. Sessions included games, performing, singing, dancing, creative writing and stage management. There were also several trips to see live performances in a theatre setting.
• Three groups were set up to accommodate the different age ranges: 4-11, 12-18 and 18+.
• There was a performance which had emotional literacy as its theme.
• 1-2-1 drama therapy sessions were provided.
How has it made a difference?
• Participants gained new skills and confidence in drama and literature as well as improving their ability to form positive and supportive relationships with other members of the group.
• 60 children and young people were involved in the project with hundreds more forming audiences for their various performances locally and at the Octagon Theatre.
• Three young people had acting roles in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, performing to over 44,000 people.
• One young person was cast in the Octagon Theatre’s production of Peter Pan during their 2012/13 season.
• Six young people now attend weekly youth theatre sessions at the Octagon Theatre.
• One young person has gone on to complete leadership training, an Arts Award and join a touring youth theatre company.
• Two adults have written a script about their lives as mums on the Willows estate and have gained confidence to speak at conferences and contribute at consultation events.
• Five children and young people auditioned to be part of the cast of the Octagon Theatre’s Christmas show for 2013/14.
“The Octagon aims to offer opportunities to individuals, within our communities, to realise their potential and develop their personal, social, and creative skills, as well as develop news skills through art and drama. Create on the Estate has had a huge impact on the local community and the participants have gained new skills and confidence in drama and literature, as well as wider skills in engaging positively with each other, sharing ideas and working together as a team.” Associate Director of the Learning and Participation Department, Octagon Theatre