18th Nov, 2019

Review: the best of the arts in Redditch, Alcester and Studley in 2017

Imogen Buller 27th Dec, 2017

2017 has been a successful year for many artists and those with a creative nature in Redditch, Alcester and Studley, whether showcasing new work or celebrating a rich cultural history.

Throughout the year, artists, art groups, musicians, actors and young people all helped put Redditch on the map.

In February, the official launch of the Artists Workhouse in Studley was hailed a stunning success after more than 250 people dropped in on the former needlemaking factory to celebrate its rebirth.

The Workhouse was chosen to launch the annual Warwickshire Open Studios event, and also as the venue for a symposium on the dissertations of Fine Arts students from Gloucester University.

Young Redditch musician Stuart Woolfenden had a successful 2017, opening for Ed Sheeran at his sold out concert in April on the Firestone Stage at the Barclaycard Area when Ed was on his Divide tour.

The 19-year-old singer songwriter also wowed the crowds at this year’s Firework Spectacular at Arrow Valley Park.

Redditch artist and photographer Steve Pound found his works of Redditch’s landmark water tower catching the eye of Redditch MP Rachel Maclean.

Steve is to have a piece of his work on display in the Houses of Parliament after being commissioned by the newly elected MP.

It’s a work in progress although early hints speak of the water tower as an alien spaceship over Westminster.

In September, a special 10th anniversary edition of a musical based on the incredible, world conquering Redditch needle industry was performed by the energetic Indigo Arts.

Eye of a Needle was performed by members of the local community group back in 2007, and to celebrate the 10 year mark, Indigo performed songs from the show at Forge Mill’s Heritage Day event.

Youngsters at the Redi Centre got creative in October, taking part in the World’s Biggest Drawing Festival. People were invited to showcase their skills, regardless of experience, and exhibits from local artists and displays from the two Redi Centre art groups were put on display.

When it came to the Poppy Appeal, residents in Redditch and Studley took to their knitting needles to show their support – and their skills resulted in a magnificent artistic display.

In Redditch, the Royal British Legion knitted 500 poppies which people could buy and then tie to the tree of remembrance on Church Green.

As the poppies mounted, it created a red cascade in memory of those who gave their lives.

The Methodist Church in Studley was ‘yarn-bombed’ to mark remembrance commemorations friends and members of the church creating more than 3,000 knitted and crocheted poppies, which included some in gold to mark 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele, some white poppies for peace, and some purple ones to remember animals lost in war.

In December, 179 original postcard-sized pieces of art went on sale at auction in Studley, causing quite a stir with buyers, who scrambled to get the best bargain for the mini masterpieces.

Each piece carried a reserve price of £3 – meaning that original, signed pieces could be snapped up for a single figure sum, with all funds raised going to the Putting Studley on the Map project.

To top off the creative year, in December more than 3,000 people visited the Arts in Redditch pop-up gallery over its ten day exhibition.

Held in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, the show featured 447 works of art created by 50 local artists, many displaying their work for the very first time.

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