Art Playground Cheltenham: Business Start Up

The thrills and spills of a social enterprise start up

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Please DO Touch The Artwork

An interactive exhibition from Art Playground, 23 May- 7 June


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Logos and exhibitions: the creative process

The other day I had the privilege of visiting Cellar Door Creative in their awesome top floor office overlooking Montpellier Park. Everything in there was so cool and so designed it hurt. In a good way. I had a moment of considering chucking it all in and coming up with a desk based job so I could have a cool office too.

Duncan, the lovely man behind Cellar Door, is helping me to create Art Playground’s brand identity. I thought we were going to make a logo, nice jpeg, bosh, done. But no, Duncan is a professional with a sharp Design honed mind behind that gentle exterior and therefore I was suddenly in the middle of an active creative process, coming up with branding ideas that reflected what Art Playground was about. And two things that we are about are cut and stick and exploring.

Something to do with vectorising and renderising and such like will turn these into real branding things.

Something to do with vectorising and renderising and such like will turn these into real branding things.


It was awesome. I highly recommend it.

In other news, the sign for the interactive exhibition is up in The Brewery window and Please DO Touch the Artwork opens on 23 May. If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a new website with details of artists and artworks.

The only thing is, you can’t really see in this picture because of the reflections. Damn that beautiful spring sunshine.

Please DO touch the Artwork 23 May- 7 Jun

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Chain Reaction Machine Challenge: gather your team…

Our Easter workshops are now confirmed…Art Playground presents
Chain Reaction Machines
Team Challenge
at The Brewery, Cheltenham
Thur 10 & Thur 17 April, 12-4pm    all ages welcome
Thur 17 April, 7-9pm     grown ups onlyFree drop in workshops

Gather your team of friends or family and create your own chain reaction machine. Also known as Rube Goldberg machines, the idea is to create a Mousetrap game style contraption where each part starts off the next. Make it as simple or as complex as you like. When you’re finished we will time how long your machine runs for and put your results up on the leader board.Prizes available for both style and substance!With marbles, dominoes, slides and levers- we will provide the materials and some examples, you just need to bring your team of makers, crafters, wannabe engineers and designers.
A team can be any size- you just need to come up with a great team name! Check out the videos below for some ideas.

and then this one for those who dream big…


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Please DO touch the artwork!

This weekend we did our second half term craft workshop, quieter than Tuesday’s, but between the two workshops we had over 400 people which beats the Christmas total. We’re part way through the window display and will share some pictures as soon as it’s done.

In the meantime, we’ve launched an interactive art competition, which is open to both student and professional artists. We’ll be creating an exhibition from the successful submissions and you will be able to interact or engage with every piece in some way.

Call for entries

“Please DO touch the artwork”

Interactive Artwork for public exhibition

The Art Playground exhibition will take place at The Brewery, Cheltenham, 22 May -7 June 2014.

We are inviting work by artists, both student and professional, using any medium. Submissions should explain how the art work will be interactive and how the public can engage with it. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage curiosity and creativity in adults and children alike. We will accept both proposals and finished work.

As well as £500 for the judges’ choice award, participating artists will be invited to a private view and networking event and have the opportunity to share further information about their work within the venue and in the exhibition print and web pages. We will also be hosting workshops and a ‘meet the artist’ event.

The judging panel will include Niki Whitfield, project manager of Cheltenham Open Studios, Arabella Kiszely, owner of Little Buckland Gallery, Liha Okunniwa of The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum and Demelsa Coleman, Marketing and Communications Manager of The Brewery. They will be joined by arts, marketing and design professionals from Gloucestershire and further afield.

The Art Playground directors are currently working to set up a permanent arts venue with a focus on interactive art and will be looking to commission work and host artists. We are keen to make contact with artists interested in engaging with this process through the competition. We believe that Art Playground will be an exciting opportunity for artists as well as an engaging space for the public.

For enquiries or a submission form please contact Christina Poulton via our email address- we are artplaygroundchelt[at]  or find Art Playground Cheltenham on Facebook or Twitter. 

To apply please complete the submission form and return it to us with the admin fee by 5pm on Monday 14th April 2014

We look forward to hearing from you.

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All about the bugs and butterflies

In preparation for our free half term recycled craft workshops, I have been testing out some ideas, bulk buying pipe cleaners and collecting other people’s recycling to make bugs and butterflies with. Here’s a little sneak preview. You can make spring themed 3D cards or a caterpillar friend.

bugs and butterflies made from recycled bottle tops, egg boxes, sheet music and maps

The Brewery are very kindly hosting us again and to top it all off, their lovely designer Cathy has designed a rather fetching Facebook cover, Twitter header and web banner so we are looking rather slick in social media land.
As last time, the workshops are free and drop in, for all ages so we’d love to see you there.

Free recycled craft workshops at The Brewery, Cheltenham, 18 and 22 Feb 12-4pm

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More workshops and activities coming up

After saying I wasn’t going to do anything until Easter (and at times in the craziness of setting up for Christmas workshops saying “never again”), we are running some more recycled craft workshops in the February Half Term. ‘Aint no party like a cut and stick and colouring in party.

The lovely Brewery staff have very kindly offered to host us again. We’re not building a whole shebang to do the workshops in like we did last time, but we are getting everyone involved in creating the window display as well as running workshops for people to make things to take home. Our theme this time is recycling/ spring time. We’ll be making bugs, butterflies, papercraft flowers, pom poms and a recycled scale model of Cheltenham. (Plans for this last bit are still in development. Possibly a step too far. May have got carried away)

As with last time, activities are open for all ages, including adults. I hope to see you there
Christina x

The official details are as follows. You heard it here first:

February Half Term

FREE drop in Recycled Craft Workshops for all ages at The Brewery

Join us in preparing for springtime. Make your own creatures and flowers to take home and add to our window display so everyone can admire your handiwork!

12-4pm drop in sessions
Tuesday 18 Feb
Sat 22 Feb

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Spring cleaning (and planning)

Happy January from Art Playground!

If you’ve wandered past The Brewery recently you may have noticed that our window display has all but gone. After the initial post-workshops-crash-out-and-sleep-for-Christmas, I’ve been packing up, sorting out and generally dismantling. Thanks to my very tolerant family and friends who drove carloads of stuff around, let me turn the spare room into a craft store and waited patiently to have their furniture returned to them.

Here’s Jamie sweeping up tinsel and twigs.
(What looks like a dead bird on the floor is actually a dustpan brush. Animal lovers, do not panic.)
Jamie sweeping up in The Brewery, Cheltenham. Clearing up after Art Playground workshops.

We’re currently planning for some February Half Term workshops and hopefully will be making a new window display very soon. I’m just instagramming some twigs and buttons and then all will be revealed. Not that I have an obsession with using twigs in art projects. Or I may have. A tiny bit. A lot. I love twigs. Don’t judge me.

Christina x