Like most creative organisations, Findhorn Bay Arts (FBA) had to adapt to ensure that creativity still happened during Lockdown for its local community and visitors when it is safe to do so. Its all year round programme, including the 4th Findhorn Bay Festival which was due to take place in September, could not be realised in the way it had envisaged. In a region where the cultural budget has been cut by 100%, the organisation knew it had to continue to programme and make accessible a wide range of creative activities.

So, what has Findhorn Bay Arts been up to since Lockdown?

Food, culture and creative regeneration has always been an integral element of FBA’s work. In June, it entered a new partnership with The Bakehouse in Findhorn to open a POP-up shop selling local home grown produce including fruit and vegetables and freshly baked bread along with face-masks made by local growers and makers from its shop on Forres High Street. The demand has been so great that the partnership is extending until the end of the growing period.

FBA received funding from Creative Scotland to run an artist-in-residency programme. Three residencies were selected on the theme of place and regeneration. The first residency started prior to Lockdown with local artist Caroline Inckle. In February, Caroline hosted three workshops in print making, creating zine stories and photography with over 35 participants of all ages. Inspired by the workshops and the enforced Lockdown, Caroline’s residency had to move to a home working studio which involved sketching, analysing old maps and walking in Forres to appreciate the architecture and natural environment in different ways. A display of her work can be seen at the POP-up shop window for passers-by to enjoy.

The next two residencies will take place over the summer with artists, David Sherry and Robbie Coleman & Jo Hodges. These residencies have a revised ambition of developing new ways to explore place and regeneration through remote working and digital forms.

FBA also secured funding from the Youth Music Initiative. This will further enable FBA to deliver a programme supporting aspiring musicians to progress their creative ideas and skills. Working with key referral partners including Aberlour Youth Point, Moray Council, Quarriers and Who Cares Scotland, FBA will engage with young people, either on 1-2-1 or small groups digitally and face-to-face, in a socially distanced way, to develop their music skills and empower them to have self-belief and the confidence to take risks and experiment.

The flagship of Findhorn Bay Arts’s programme for 2020 would have been the Findhorn Bay Festival. While it can’t deliver the festival as it had envisaged, it is currently looking at programming a year long programme of creative activity and events across Moray.

Findhorn Bay Arts realises it has an important role to play in rebuilding public confidence and re-connecting its local community. It firmly believes that creativity can still happen even during Lockdown.

(Update provided by Findhorn Bay Arts)