Hello and welcome to Bus and Bird Arts! My name is Clare Taylor, otherwise known as Curious Clare on social media.
My role as a freelance artist educator means helping audiences find happiness and engagement through creative activity. My small community arts organisation, which I set up in 2016, operates across Nottinghamshire but sometimes as far as Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
There are lots of brilliant community arts museums and venues out there but I believe there’s a real barrier to participation – their location! They all rely on people travelling to them, and that’s not something that is easily available to everyone.
I am a mobile champion of learning and creativity, bringing participation in creative arts to people’s own doorsteps. Ultimately, my aim is to have a small bus so I can engage with any group in any location, regardless of how difficult-to-reach they might be.
The passion for this work came from almost 20 years of teaching. When the school I worked for decided to develop as a specialist school, I was instrumental in developing that bid. It was my job to engage the primary schools in the local area with arts in the community. Our students’ work was installed in community settings like hospitals, and I found that I really enjoyed working with lots of different bodies and people. So much so that I eventually decided to put the skills I’d acquired to good use, and set up on my own.
I work with lots of different groups – rural schools, care homes, festival organisers, and community groups. Typically, my work falls under one or more key themes: Community; Education and Training; and Health and Wellbeing.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on lots of varied projects. More often than not, they’re related to heritage in some way. I was commissioned by Mansfield District Council to create an installation to celebrate the textiles industry, and chose hosiery as the focus. After all, who doesn’t know and like socks?! Humour is often the thread that ties my projects together, and can be used to great effect when you’re trying to reach the hard-to-engage in the local community. As one example, I used a ‘Sup and Chatter’ get together in a local pub to involve the men. One of the outputs was a 3-minute film which premiered at the Odeon cinema in Mansfield (as my toddler daughter, Rosie, said at the time when she saw me on screen, ‘Mummy’s gone big!’).
It certainly gave me the stage upon which to build my local profile, and led on to another project which aimed to get local people engaged with the local museum. We approached local groups (sometimes involving different generations, like granddads and granddaughters) as well as businesses, and told them – one way or another – we would get them into the museum! I decided to approach this challenge quite literally when I tasked them to create clay caricatures of themselves and one another, and their efforts were then installed in the museum.
I have also acted as the ‘home-cooked heritage artist’ for an Inspired Libraries project which aimed to promote the Nottingham archives. We took an 18th century ledger from a well-known local stately home, Rufford Park, which detailed all the items bought during that era (akin to a future generation 300 years down the line looking at items on our Tesco bill!) My role was to create and curate no fewer than 70 tea towels to help tell the story.
Other commissions have included: a mural for Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project (encouraging local people to ‘look up’ and pay attention to the historical buildings around them); arts and crafts for audience development as part of the ‘Big Fish, Little Fish’ family friendly rave; eco-nature projects like nature explorer clubs, and material re-use.
I have lots of experience of, and passion for, working with families. I’m told that my projects are fun, friendly and engaging. Best of all, I get to convert those who are reluctant in some way – perhaps because they don’t see the benefit of creative activity or maybe because they are preoccupied with their to-do list for the day ahead or because they are strapped for time.
Focusing wholeheartedly on a creative activity – particularly with family and friends, old and new – has a restorative effect on a person’s health and wellbeing, and connects them more strongly to their local community and heritage. I’m so pleased that I can help make that happen!
You can read more about Clare here.
Who do we work with?
If you would like to learn more about what Bus and Bird Arts can offer you, please get in touch with Clare at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.