Smile Inside project goes on show

A PROJECT which began as a response to COVID-19 is being showcased at an exhibition in Woking this weekend.

Smile Inside, the idea of Sarah Gilmartin and Kate Finegan from Inclusive Intergenerational Dance (IID), is free and will be open to the public at 1 Mercia Walk, formerly Foxtons estate agents, from 11am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday (26 and 27 September).

Artworks created for Smile Inside will be exhibited at 1 Mercia Walk this weekend

IID is a local Arts for Health charity which runs projects and weekly sessions, often for older people and those with long-term health conditions in dance, music and visual art.

“We knew that many of the people we meet on a regular basis would not have much contact during lockdown, so we set out to collect stories from 20 isolating older adults about what makes them smile inside,” Kate said.

“The stories varied from looking at their garden to memories of local festivals and grandchildren running on beaches. 

“We then asked 20 local artists in varying fields to create an artistic response to each story, and from those we selected six artists to develop the artwork into larger pieces.

“Further to this, we asked local schools’ key-worker children and members of the community to also create artwork inspired by the stories.

“We’ve collected all the stories and images of the artwork and delivered these to the older adults, to make them smile inside again.

“Now we’d like to share all the creative responses we have received with the community.”

Smile Inside was funded by Arts Council England.

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