Following on from the huge success of the 2013 Family Arts Festival in which over 500,000 people took part across the UK, the 2014 Family Arts Festival took place from 17 October to 2 November with Michael Morpurgo announced as patron, Center Parcs and Netmums as major new partners. The Big Draw brought over 500 events to the festival. Martin Daws and Rebecca Harries also supported the Festival as Ambassadors in Wales.
There was an incredible variety of quality family arts events, many of them free, from a world premiere WW1-themed concert, dads dancing in Battersea; to a Halloween Spooktacular in Cardiff, drawing with natural dyes at a Big Draw event in Walthamstow, a dance display on a Metrolink tram in Manchester, and a rare view into the world of our best loved fairy-tales with footage and illustrations from Snow White, Cinderella and Shrek in Newcastle.
Plans are already underway for an even bigger and better Family Arts Festival in 2015. Once rating closes on 17 November and until further details of the next festival are announced, the website, www.familyartsfestival.com, will become the number one place for families to find arts organisations across the UK that listen to and understand the needs of families and make them welcome. All organisations featured on the site are signed up to the Family Arts Standards: they have committed to providing great arts experiences for families. From suitable facilities, to helpful staff and activities that all generations can enjoy together, they provide clear information so families can decide what is or isn’t suitable for them.
Former Children’s Laureate and bestselling author of War Horse Michael Morpurgo:“Bravo to everyone involved in the Family Arts Festival this year. It has been a celebration of the arts like no other, offering all kinds of exceptional, creative and quality arts events for families, whether theatre, opera, dance, art and drawing. It’s been a privilege to be a small part of it”
Kathryn McDowell CBE, Family Arts Campaign Chair and Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra:“We’re delighted that so many organisations from across the UK have participated in this year’s festival. From theatres to galleries, orchestras to dance companies, all have produced high quality arts activities and events for families to enjoy together. The high number of museums, libraries and community groups that participated helped ensure there truly was something for everyone.”
Laura Dyer, Executive Director, Arts Council England:
‘It was always going to be hard to expand on last year’s amazing programme for the Family Arts Festival given the great response it received, but this year’s fantastic offering has done just that. With over twice as many events, the Festival continues to support the Arts Council’s goal of giving every adult and child the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture. We hope that many of those who took part will rate their experience so that the Festival can continue to celebrate success through the Family Arts Festival Awards, and raise awareness for the Family Arts Festival 2015.’
Diane Hebb, Director of Engagement and Participation, Arts Council of Wales:“We’re very pleased with the excellent response received from arts organisations in Wales to this year’s festival, with the number of organisations participating more than doubling. We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of amazing events that have been held across Wales, may this continue in 2015.”
Mari O’Neill, Family Arts Campaign Manager: “The second Family Arts Festival has had a higher profile thanks to new partnerships with Center Parcs, Netmums and The Primary Times, and the advocacy of Festival Patrons and Ambassadors Michael Morpurgo, Martin Daws and Rebecca Harries. We would like to thank them all for their support. It has been fantastic to see families using the Family Arts Festival mobile app too, creating googly-eyed portraits of themselves before finding Festival events to visit. We hope that they continue to benefit from engaging with organisations they discovered through the festival.”