Art Playground Cheltenham: Business Start Up

The thrills and spills of a social enterprise start up

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The Art Maze

KaleidoscopeRoomEmmaReidcoll-ec5791da-635573615123238314“We’re building an Art Maze but we need your help!”

We’re building a full size maze of art in an empty shop in Cheltenham- turning a disused unit into a beautiful, creative community space that is open for people of all ages to explore for free. It’s very exciting.
We’ve got nearly 90% of the overall funding we need and last week we launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the last bit.

The past week has seen the talented Tom Travis editing our video behind the scenes, our fantastic volunteers taking to the prit-stick to make our pop-up maze flyers (“ooooh, ahhhh!”) come to life, and an emotional rollercoaster of a week in the office as the campaign went live. The refresh button hasn’t been clicked this much since Glastonbury tickets went on sale.

If you would like to find out more about our campaign, follow it’s progress, share it with your nearest & dearest or the next door neighbour, or even pledge a small amount to help us raise a larger amount together, then click right here!

So far, thanks to your generous donations we have reached 36% of our total campaign amount, but there’s still a long way to go!

See you in the Art Maze.

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Cake & Crafts – ‘Making Christmas’

xmas cake and crafts collage
Yesterday we held our second Cake & Crafts workshop: ‘Making Christmas’.
(For those of you who are unfamiliar, Cake & Crafts are civilised Sunday afternoon craft sessions for grown ups with tea and lots of cake!)

With Christmas music on in the background, we created wreaths, cards and decorations using beautiful recycled and vintage materials, and had a very festive afternoon.

This workshop sold out, with 12 lovely people in attendance which made for a cosy and very sociable crafting session.

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The Big Draw

We worked with Cheltenham based illustrator, James Dighton, to create a huge image of the Pittville Pump rooms for The Big Draw – the World’s largets drawing festival!

We set up camp at Cheltenham Library and divided a big projection of James’ Pittville Pump Rooms illustration up into sections. People then drew a section each and we put all of these together to make a very interesting, colourful version of our own. BBC Radio Gloucester came along to speak to us, and Yoda even made an appearance in the final picture!

James has recently been commissioned to create an illustrative mural for Cafe Nero in Cheltenham – it’s fantastic.
You can see more of his illustrative works by clicking here.

big draw collage

radio Christina speaks to Jo Durrant of BBC Radio Gloucestershire

James Dighton: Illustration in Cafe Nero, Cheltenham

James Dighton: Illustration in Cafe Nero, Cheltenham

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Halloween Crafts

We continued the Halloween festivities with a free drop-in spooky arts & crafts session at Axiom Arts, Cheltenham.
Families and young people came along and made paper plate masks and Halloween cards.
It was a great drop in session because there aren’t always lots of free things for families and young people to do at half term.
axiom halloween

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Spooky Mask Making

This Halloween, Art Playground held a free drop-in mask making event at The Brewery, Cheltenham (who kindly let us use the empty Habitat unit). Lots of children and adults came along and made spooky masks to take home, from wicked witches & petrified pumpkins, to zombie chickens! It was very creative, mildly messy and a whole lot of fun.
mask making collage

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Cirque de Spooké

Roll up! Roll up!
From Tues 28 – Thurs 30 we worked with Cheltenham Youth Theatre to create Cirque de Spooke (a genius title, we know!) – a zombie circus performance. 7-18 year olds created the acts, costumes, gory stage makeup and props and the performance had everyone in stitches.
A definite highlight were the UV skeletons appearing from the darkness to dance to the Strictly Come Dancing theme tune(!) and the blood spattered popcorn.

spooky, youth, theatre, spook, cirque, circus, zombie, dolls

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Cake & Crafts

Today was our first Cake & Crafts workshop- Sunday afternoon craft sessions for grown ups, with cake and tea. Very civilised. We even had Classic FM on in the background. That’s how classy we are. It’s was good to do this, as our first public workshop in our new HQ and the people who came along were enthusiastic, chatty, friendly and got stuck in which made it a very pleasant afternoon.

3d letters created at Art Playground Cake and Crafts workshop


The office is complete: Social Saturday

Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot DeskOn 13 Sept we opened for Social Saturday (a national day for Social Enterprise) which was the perfect deadline to get everything finished in the office. I don’t work well without a deadline!

We got it done in time, just, and here are the results, including a few pics from the set up for the event. If you like blue and yellow a lot or just wants a break from working at home then you can join us and rent a hot desk space. There’s more info about hotdesking on our website here.












Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk





















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk






















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk





















Art Playground Office Cheltenham Hot Desk






















Art Playground 4