Jennifer Flint
31 May, 2023
Chelmsford Festival – My Role In An Evolving Visual Arts Provision

I would say one of the most challenging parts of my job is being the wearer of many hats, yet of course that is what keeps the role exciting. If someone asks me what I do for a living, it is difficult to find a label and they are often puzzled when I can’t give them a two word job title. I usually go for ‘Community Artist’ and that seems to satisfy and intrigue people in equal measure.

I have a degree in illustration and worked briefly in academic publishing before working as a freelance illustration agent. When my children were very young, I ran workshops for new mums to meet each other and make crafts. I also set up a preschool craft group. Reflecting on this now, I can see that this is where I truly discovered the impact of community art, the way it connects people in a safe and accessible way.

Today, I work alongside the Ideas Hub and Essex Youth Services, running an Arts Award programme for 11-19 year olds. I often collaborate with Chelmsford For You providing murals, and workshops for their fantastic yearly programme of events. 2023 has been a huge learning curve, taking on new creative projects in Colchester and Harlow and of course becoming a trustee for Chelmsford Festival.

As an illustrator I had exhibited a few times in the Chelmsford Festival exhibition, curated by the fabulous Candy Joyce. I always loved the crazy mix of styles and sizes, new artists hanging alongside established locals. It was a feast for the eyes and I always bought more pieces than I sold. It is nice to think back to those first few encounters with the festival and it is an honour now to be delivering this years Visual Arts provision, an exciting trio of events; The Chelmsford Festival Exhibition, Art Trail and Art & Craft Fair.

We are very lucky to have a fantastic dedicated festival space within the Meadows Shopping Centre in which to hang the 2023 exhibition. With great lighting and plenty of space to show off the work to its full potential. The exhibition will be running for the duration of the festival (10th June-9th July), it is free entry and most of the work is for sale so do make sure you get down and secure your favourite pieces.

We have taken a different approach to the art trail this year and commissioned 12 local artists to produce a poster which would line the Chelmsford Carnival Route. The carnival itself will pass through from Shire Hall to the Chelmsford Museum on the 2nd July although the poster trail will be in shop windows for the duration of the festival. A short bio from each artist will appear on the trail map and in each poster location there will be more information about the inspiration behind each image. Maps will be available from the Chelmsford Festival Unit and completed trail maps will be entered into a prize draw. There will also be the opportunity to purchase Giclee prints of each artwork from the Festival unit. I am very excited to reveal this vibrant and exciting collection of locally inspired artworks.

As a brand new event for Chelmsford Festival this year, the Art Fair will be a fun day with a variety of art and craft stalls as well as activities for all ages and live demonstrations. It will be one of the first events in the new Tindal Square development and will take place on the 10th June 10-4pm. We will also host The Portrait Artist Competition and welcome Ignite and the Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP) providing information about the Cultural Strategy for Chelmsford. If anyone is looking to host a stall or activity, please get in touch.

At Chelmsford Festival, we are constantly on the lookout for new ideas and creative partnerships. I would encourage everyone to think about ways of becoming involved next year, we are now in our 5th year and gaining momentum! We need local creatives to create a non motorised float for our eco-carnival. We have resources to help with this, wheels, pallets and advice so please let us know if this interests you. We are desperately seeking volunteers to open the exhibition space, particularly at weekends so that everyone will get the opportunity to view and purchase artworks. Most importantly, tell your friends, bring the family, check out and share our amazing programme of events www.chelmsfordfestival.co.uk

Find out more about Jennifer Flint in our Ignite Directory.

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