2018 – The Story So Far

March already! How’s that even possible? So much has been happening at Evo headquarters this year, we hardly noticed it’s almost Spring – yes, weather, you heard correctly, Spring!

We cracked open 2018 with a cheese and wine soirée for our tutors to celebrate the Centre’s anniversary – Brighton & Hove’s longest-standing Arts & Wellbeing centre has reached the ripe old age of 25 (even Justin Beiber wasn’t born when we first opened).

The main purpose of the evening was to introduce our new Arts Centre Manager, David Weisz, who will be at the helm to help steer Evolution Arts into calmer and more exciting waters over the coming months. It was also an opportunity for our tutors to mingle and exchange more than the usual passing hello on the stairwell. Dancers chatted to weavers, musicians to yogis, photographers to artists – before long the main studio was fizzing with creative camaraderie.

A quiz about Brighton revealed how ofay everybody is or isn’t with our city. Although most people knew that Brighton was originally called Brighthelmstone, nobody could say what year Brighton Railway Station was built (call themselves Brightonians), and some people – not a lot – thought Paul Daniels was the star of the Brighton based film Quadrophenia. Creative writing tutor Gary Mepsted, the Centre’s longest-standing tutor who started putting quill to paper here over twenty years ago, did the honours of cutting the birthday cake, which even nutrition tutor Kirsten Chick couldn’t refuse a slice of.

January saw the Arts Centre in its wintery element, with swaths of people signing up to our courses and workshops on the back of their New Year’s resolutions and intentions: be healthier, try something new, learn a new skill, meet new people, have more fun. Oldtime faves like Acrylic Painting, Paiting in Oils and The Artist’s Way sold out as usual, but even newcomers like Experimental Weaving and the Live Again Singing Project pulled in the punters.

Students work: Painting in Oils course.

February was all hands on deck as we worked around the clock to get the new Evolution Arts Charity Shop ready for business. The charity shop has replaced the old Evolution shop on 89 Western Road. Here you’ll find an exciting mixture of second hand goodies – clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, furniture, bric-a-brac – as well as a range of new wellbeing products including essential oils, crystals and incense. All funds raised by the shop will be fed back into the Arts Centre helping us to give our community an even more enjoyable experience. Plans for 2018 include a new high-street entrance for the Arts Centre, and a ground-floor reception area and café.

Which brings us to March and the release of our sizzling summer programme. Courses and workshops are up and ready to book on our website and our new brochure will soon be coming to a library or café near you.

But unfortunately it’s not all thrills and spills. This month we wave goodbye to our office manager Ewan who has done a sterling job of keeping Evolution’s administration ticking like clockwork for over two years. Ewan’s calm and diligent presence will be greatly missed and we wish him the very best of luck in his new ventures in Norfolk. The office is also minus our charismatic creative captain Charles who recently took the plunge into fulltime teaching. Charles’ design wizardry has given our marketing a fresh lease of life of late and his legacy will live on in our newsletters and brochures.

But as old doors close new ones open, and in through ours walk two new Arts Centre staff: experienced general manager David Weisz and tech-savvy office manager Visarada. From herein both David and Visarada will be working hard alongside yours truly to ensure Evolution Arts keeps evolving and enhancing people’s lives through the arts, wellbeing and creativity for many more years to come.

At this exciting juncture in Evolution Arts’ history, we’d like to thank all Evolutionaires past and present: tutors, students, employees, volunteers, trustees, and anybody else who has helped our centre over the last 25 years. We look forward to growing even older together.

Til next month

Sarah x

P.S. Brighton station first opened in 1840.

 

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FREE Mindful Art Course

There’s hardly a moment to breathe in Brighton in May, let alone find time for your own artistic pursuits. The Brighton Festival, the Brighton Fringe, The Great Escape and Artists Open Houses catapult the city into a frenzy of culture and creativity. With so much theatre, music, dance, performance and art to feast on this month, June will be a good time to give your mind and body a break, whilst tapping into your own creative potential.

Stop Look Breathe Create 3 Challenge

To celebrate the upcoming release of her new creative mindfulness book, Stop Look Breathe Create – Wendy Ann Greenhalgh author of Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing: A creative path to awareness  is launching a new FREE three week creative mindfulness course you can do online and at home. The first ever run of it starts on the 5th of June and continues for 3 weeks until the 25th of June and she’s inviting the Art of Mindfulness Community to do it TOGETHER as a follow up to their Mindful Drawing Month. Here’s how it works…

Boosting Creativity

Over the 3 weeks of the challenge you’re going to explore the 3 Stop Look Breathe Create creative mediums – mindful photography, drawing and writing.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself an artist or even especially creative. Wendy Ann has taught these simple creative mindfulness practices to people who’ve told her they can’t draw, are awful at taking photos, and can never think of anything to write.

These people always leave a workshop with drawings under their arm, photos on their cameras, and words on the page.

Mindful creativity is all about process – about enjoying creating and using it as a way of becoming more mindful of our bodies and minds, and of the world around us – it’s not about end results or being perfect. This means Stop Look Breathe Create is for everyone.

Deepening Mindfulness

So you’ll have your 3 creative mediums and over 3 weeks you’re going to combine them with the 3 minute breathing space, a very special mindfulness meditation.

The 3 minute breathing space was developed through MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) programs by teachers like Jon Kabat Zinn and Professor Mark Williams.

It’s considered a key part of these programs because it’s the meditation practice that helps people develop the habit of mindfulness in every moment of their lives.

The breathing space is an immensely accessible and powerful practice for growing inner resources of groundedness, calm and self-compassion. In the case of a Stop Look Breathe Create breathing space – you’re nurturing creativity too.

Developing the daily mindfulness habit

Just as daily mindfulness has proven benefits – so too does daily creativity.

The Stop Look Breathe Create 3 Challenge will help you develop the habit of daily practice so that you can start to feel the benefits too.

The FREE 3 Challenge course materials will support you through the 3 weeks of the challenge. You’ll get:

* Three guided 3 minute breathing space meditations on MP3,
* Three MP3 mini-tutorials on drawing, photography and writing
* Three tips on how to develop your creative mindfulness practice for each week of the challenge in your 30 page PDF course booklet
* A Meditation Diary for you to keep track of your progress on the weekly challenges.

If you’d like to join us for the first ever 3 Challenge then you’ll need to sign up for the Art of Mindfulness community Enews by following this link:

https://artofmindfulness.wordpress.com/sign-up-for-e-news/

PLEASE DO SHARE this event with all your friends, the more people who join in the better – let’s spread the word about the benefits and joys of daily mindfulness and creativity.

If you do intend to join in and take the 3 Challenge then it would also be great if you registered by clicking the GOING button on the Facebook event. This will give everyone a strong sense of the community of creative, mindful people they’ll be sharing the experience with.

Any questions just contact Wendy Ann.

There’s lots going on in May at Evolution Arts, so if you’re suffering from festival fever, take time out and enrol on one of this month’s innovative and exciting courses, workshops or drop-ins: Introduction to Enamelling  Hatha Yoga, A Journey Within The Body, Silent Tea Ceremony, Figure Drawing & Costume in Mixed Media, Introduction to Portrait Photography, Freedom in Music, Butoh Dance and Introduction to Portrait Photography.

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It’s All About Women

With Mother’s Day last Sunday and International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March, this week it’s all about women.

International Women’s Day was originally established in 1911 to, as the Independent puts it: “mark women’s enormous contribution to humankind.” Giving birth to the entire human race might indeed be regarded as an enormous contribution, so they’re not wrong there. But why is a ‘women’s day’ necessary in the 21st Century?

In many places around the world – including the oh-so-enlightened West – women lag lamentably behind men in pay for performing the same job; a mere 55 of the world’s richest 500 people are female; and the closest encounter half the population ever have with a glass ceiling is to clean it. Meanwhile, in 2015, a woman spent five months in a Tehran jail for protesting against the ban on females watching sports in stadiums alongside men, women are routinely seen as the sexual property of men – whether or not they know them – and in too many places on the planet women have to cover themselves from head to toe just in case men can’t control themselves. This, and having to solicit the permission of a man even to avail themselves of a medical intervention on their own bodies, demonstrates just why a day of recognition – if not reckoning – is warranted. As for women’s status in Saudi Arabia, space prohibits us from even listing the injustices women endure there, so here’s a handy link.

399px-Handicapped!_Women's_suffrage_poster,_1910s

And so, if it appears strange that 50% of the human species has to mark on the calendar a day to remind the other 50% of the human species that we are all actually homosapiens, sadly, there are very persuasive reasons for it.

This week there are an abundance of events taking place in countries across the globe to celebrate the social, cultural and economic achievements of women and highlight the pressing issues they continue to face. In the US the newly crowned Queen of Gender Equality, English actress Emma Watson (pictured below) will be one of the speakers at a rally to launch HeForShe Arts Week, a weeklong spotlight on women’s rights and gender equality. In India, SeekSherpa is hosting a series of events tied into International Women’s Day, including an all-girl pub crawl and a bus tour of hidden culinary hotspots in Delhi, whilst Taiwan’s  Girls in Tech evening on March 8 celebrated entrepreneurial women of the web.

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In London the weeklong WOW (Women of the World) Festival is taking place at the Southbank Centre, and will feature over 150 events, including talks, debates, live music, comedy, dance lessons, workshops and  even a demonstration from the sword-wielding stars of Muslim Girls Fence.

In Evolution’s hometown of Brighton the Women’s Centre and Brighton Dome  put together a special, action-packed day of entertainment, films, workshops, exhibitions and discussions on March 8th, including an exhibition by artist and Evolution Arts tutor Bern O’Donooghue.  In Dead Reckoning, O’Donoghue presents a moving installation from her paper boat art project (see image below) bearing witness to the deaths in 2015 of an estimated 3,771 migrants and refugees who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in their efforts to reach Europe.

boats

Both Brighton Dome and Dukebox Theatre in Hove, are hosting a whole week of shows and workshops dedicated to celebrating womankind. Highlights include Sandi Toksvig’s live show, Politically Incorrect, local musician Hannah Brackenbury’s brilliant songs about pound shops, selfies, librarians, vodka and cats,  and a night of seriously sassy sketches about all things female from The Fannytasticals.

Evolution Arts offers courses and workshops where women (and men!) have the chance to express and celebrate themselves through a range of artistic mediums including dance, theatre, drawing, music and photography.

 

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Salvage Cafe – art, coffee and comedy on tap!

Brighton’s creative folk love an independent café where they can relax and wile away the hours deep in artistic thought or conversation, one hand on their laptop, the other on their Mochaccino. Café Salvage on Western Road is a Mecca for such sorts, attracting a mixture of writers, designers, artists, performers, filmmakers and general café-goers through its doors every day.

Salvage’s owner Tazz, a former fine art student from Nottingham with a passion for good coffee and fine teas, rebranded and opened Salvage Café in April 2015. Tazz says:

“I opened Salvage because It had always been a personal dream of mine to run my own coffee shop and I felt Brunswick town didn’t have a community cafe where locals could come and have delicious affordable food and drink.”

But Salvage isn’t just an independent café with vintage furniture, ambient lighting and a great play-list. Everything in the café including the upcycled tables, huge railway mirror, pharmacy pigeon holes, postbox and traffic light is for sale. Tazz says:

 “I loved the idea of a shop where if you like the chair you are sitting on, you can take it home!”

At the moment that might be the vintage cinema chairs or a 1940’s recliner.

Passionate about art and photography, Tazz recently introduced a programme of arts event at Salvage including a monthly poetry evening, a fortnightly acoustic music event and a bi-monthly comedy night. In fact, Evolution’s own Sarah Charsley and newcomer to the Brighton comedy circuit will be performing her latest standup routine there on Friday 5th February. Sarah says:

“Salvage café is a great place for a cool and kooky comedy night such as Comestible Comedy. For £10 you get a tasty Indian veggie meal and laughter on tap. And if you fancy it, you can even go home with a traffic light.”

If you’re in the mood for a giggle and fancy writing your own comedy or even taking your first step into standup, Evolution Arts is launching its brand new Comedy Writing Taster, a VIP tour through top tips to tickle, led by BBC Comedy Producer & Director Diane Messias. Also guaranteed to put a grin on your face is Mahasukha’s celebrated Soulful Singing, an ode to joyful living if ever there was one.

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THE DRAWING CIRCUS

What do, Joan of Arc, Wes Anderson, Clowns and Lepidoptery (the study of moths) have in common? The answer is they have all been themes of The Drawing Circus  life drawing events.

The Drawing Circus is a troupe of Brighton-based artists, models, art tutors, musicians and performers who seek to promote a sense of wonder at the visual world through innovative drawing events

drawing circus photo 2

Drawing Circus events aren’t your average structured life drawing classes. Far from it. These events, which are rarely tutored, straddle the boundary between workshop and performance and aim to leave all participants feeling inspired and informed. Most events are held in collaboration with innovative Brighton venues such as the Old Market and The Spiegeltent, with each event based around a different theme. Members of the collective make the costumes for the models to pose in and musical entertainment is provided by the Drawchestra, a collective of musically inclined life models who perform at Drawing Circus events. Drawchestra members add musical flourishes to poses and guest musicians are often invited to play alongside them.

drawchestra

Evolution’s Carole Gledhill has first hand experience of The Drawing Circus, both as model and artist. A former art student, Carole got into the Brighton life drawing scene four years ago when she started tutoring for a company that run life drawing hen parties. Carole says:

“I love life drawing, it’s like meditating, you have to be so focused and you leave feeling relaxed and challenged.”

Carole last modeled at a special Drawing Circus event at the Booth Museum in November last year, dressed as a lion (see drawing below by Geo Parkin, with other model Naomi Wood). Here, she posed alongside several other costumed models including a monkey-mermaid and a bat .

 

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“The loveliest thing about the themed events is the amazing costumes you get to wear and the social aspect. Also, it’s a novelty to pose alongside other models. As an artist I enjoy going to events at the Old Market as they’re the only times I get to have a G&T whilst I draw – I think it actually helps my drawing!”

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The Drawing Circus is the brainchild of Jake Spicer. Jake is head tutor of Draw who run drawing events all over the South East. In 2009 Jake started a tiny, 6 person life drawing class in the corner of his studio hoping to meet other people in Brighton who were keen on drawing. Both models and sketchers in the class had all of these wonderful ideas for unusual life draiwng sessions, so when he was asked to put on themed event for White Night 2009 he gathered a crew around and put on an amazing tarot themed life draiwng all-nighter which attracted 750 people who turned up to draw. Jake says:

“The classes expanded and we ran more and more events and eventually we split The Brighton Life Drawing Sessions into Draw and The Drawing Circus, with the Drawing Circus run more democratically by Emma, Francesca and myself with ideas for all our sessions coming from members of the troupe. It is a privilege to be working alongside such a passionate and creative crew of artists, models and musicians.”

Brighton Life Drawing Sessions form the core of Draw’s adult education program. Most sessions take place at New England House and include Mixed Pose, Short Poses Long Pose and Themed Pose sessions. The latest themed pose was David Bowie.

The Draiwng Circus is a non-profit making organisation. The sessions are open to all abilities and they especially encourage complete begginers to come give life drawing a go. The next Drawing Circus will be held at the Old Market Bar on 16 February and will be on the theme of Star Wars. All jedi, droids, ewoks, Tusken raiders, wookiees welcome.

If you are interested in other drawing practices,  Evolution Arts run a range of art courses and workshops for all levels.

May the drawing force be with you!

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