Community celebrated in this year’s Winter Droving

Over 100 people in Penrith and Eden have been nominated to take part in this year’s Winter Droving projection display on St Andrews Church.

As the usual festival activities have been cancelled due to Coronavirus, Eden Arts, the organisers of the Winter Droving released a call out to community groups, businesses and members of the public to nominate people around the theme of care.

52 members of the public have now been photographed and videoed to become part of the projections, which will be taking place during half term between 28th – 31st October 2020. Cumbrian artist Zoe Forster has been recording footage of people for the installation, which will see them intertwined with footage from previous festivals. Eden Arts were introduced to Zoe when she was shortlisted for Eden Arts’ Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year earlier in the year. She is currently in her final year at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

Nominations included 5 year old Katie Kavanagh, who has brought together a group of neighbours in Greystoke who had previously not really spoken to each other. Pam Wood who nominated Katie commented ‘She calls us all auntie or uncle and just chatters to everyone. She is such a sweetheart, we all love her.’

Other nominations include the Penrith Mountain Rescue Team, who as well as being on call out for walkers, hikers and climbers, have helped out at The Winter Droving and Ullswater Droving Festivals for the past few years being involved in the Drover’s Cup, joining in the processions and assisting with road closures on the day.

Katie Lock, nominated for her outstanding and selfless work in bringing joy and nurturing creativity in others through community arts workshops and programmes said: “It was so nice for my friends to nominate me. When I found out, I was beaming! After a really rough year, it was nice to be appreciated!”

Christine Stewart was nominated for co-ordinating around 20 volunteer seamstresses around the upper Eden Valley who have currently sewn over 2000 face coverings for volunteer organisations, local shops, public transport services and members of the public all for donations to cover the cost of the fabrics and printing. Christine said ‘So many people have pulled together through the last few months through all different things, it’s really good to show that and be positive! It was great for people who were shielding to be able to do something active and help the community through sewing too!’

Each year around 30 community groups join in with The Winter Droving, and hundreds of members of the public are invited to create the finale, The Fire and Lantern Procession as it snakes through the streets of Penrith. This year Eden Arts wanted to showcase these people and more who come together to make our place great.

‘It’s lovely to be part of it’, said Anna Atkinson, nominated by a neighbour as she sang and performed for her neighbours after the clap for the NHS every week. According to her nominee she was so good that people from adjoining streets came to watch her.

Another highlight this year will be portraits of people on Penrith town centre shop windows. Scattered throughout the town, portraits of masked locals will be on display from mid October. Eden Arts are working with Penrith based photographer Richie Johnston to create the dreamy portraits. They are a fun take on the Droving themes, and will be a great addition to the town centre throughout the winter.  Richie is a local artist who Eden Arts have worked with on several projects since he graduated from Falmouth College of Art.

Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts said: “We really wanted to do something special for this year’s Winter Droving as we were unable to do the usual event. Through the public call out over 100 people have been nominated and it’s fantastic to hear all the stories and how people in the community go above and beyond in their jobs, for their friends and neighbours and also strangers.

“We really do have a fantastic community here and it is a great opportunity to be able to showcase that this year.  It also gives us the opportunity to work with talented young Cumbrian artists like Zoe and Richie, giving them the opportunity to develop their practice in a Cumbrian setting, something that we need to see more of if we are to retain and encourage local talent.”

The project also sees the support and work of Kendal based digital artist Nick Greenall, who specialises in community based visual art work.

The Winter Droving Projections will be displayed between 28th – 31st October 2020 in St Andrews Churchyard. More information can be found online at www.edenarts.co.uk/WD2020

Arts – Cumbria Crack