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.
2018 The Travelling Happiness Bar
The Travelling Happiness Bar (THB) was developed from an ‘Engaging Libraries’ funded partnership project between Bolton at Home, Bolton Library and Museum Service and Breakdown Bolton. It was launched at Breightmet Library during Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.
Engaging Libraries is a programme for public libraries across the UK and Ireland that want to pilot creative and imaginative public engagement projects on health and wellbeing. Public libraries have a key role in delivering on health and wellbeing as outlined in national library strategies across the UK and Ireland and the Society of Chief Librarians’ Universal Health Offer. The programme is a partnership between the Wellcome Trust and Carnegie UK Trust and is the outcome of joint work between the Wellcome Trust and the Society of Chief Librarians.
The THB is an interactive, travelling exhibit which was designed around the Five Ways to Wellbeing - to engage and challenge people to reflect on what they mean by wellbeing, sparking conversation and debate on this important topic. Alongside this public engagement, a ‘bartender’ speaks to people about ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ and members of the public are encouraged to participate in community activities such as health walks, mindfulness classes and workshops using poetry or art workshops to spark creativity.
Residents were also given the opportunity to enrol in an exciting art workshop programme taking place at the Neo Artists Gallery in Bolton which ran alongside the Happiness Bar tour. The workshops aimed to creatively explore what it is ‘Being Human’, and were facilitated by artists from Breakdown Bolton CIC.
The Travelling Happiness Bar has since toured other locations in Greater Manchester, including Oldham Library.