The Art Bus

The idea behind our Art Bus project came about because we felt that it was difficult for people in some rural communities in the Bridgend Borough to access our creative opportunities at our location in Betws. In addition, there is often a lack of suitable spaces or Community Centres for us to work from in some areas locally:

“We wanted to address the issue of rural isolation and take creative opportunities and activities to people across Bridgend County … so we came up with the idea of an ‘Art Bus’ to take our Community Arts projects on tour.”
(Alex Bowen, Director, Valley and Vale Community Arts)

“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.”
(
Tracy Pallant, Film Development Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts)

Participants in these communities have had the opportunity to attend digital story telling, arts and and media workshops, learning skills in arts and media production and creating a living archive of changing rural lives. The Art Bus also attends local events and organises ‘Flash Mob’ spontaneous creative events and activities and randomly turns up in communities to make things happen. The Art 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.” (Tracy Pallant, Film Development Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts)

In addition, the Art Bus promotes outdoor learning activities on the road, including camping trips, forest arts and woodland workshops. In July 2013, our Art 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 give 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 Art Bus, creating sustainability, and it will be used by us for many years offering creative projects in the foreseeable future.”
(Alex Bowen, Director, Valley and Vale Community Arts)

This project was funded by ‘reach’ in Bridgend under the “let’s Innovate” fund.