Media release - issued 03 Aug 2021

Community craft project brings colour to the town centre

A borough-wide crochet project has brought Rushmoor residents together to create more than one hundred beautiful mandalas, which will be displayed at Aldershot's Princes Gardens' bandstand from Tuesday 10 August.

The installation celebrates creativity and local community, bringing colour and vibrancy into the town centre. Mandalas are spiritual and ritual circular symbols in both Hinduism and Buddhism that represent the universe. 

The Crafty Culture: Make a Mandala project was set up to encourage people feeling isolated because of the pandemic to take part in a community-wide arts project. It is run by Aldershot's West End Centre, which is operated by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust, in collaboration with local artists Barbara Touati-Evans and Gemma MacLennan, and is funded by Rushmoor Borough Council.

To celebrate the opening of the installation, from 10am - 2pm on Tuesday 10 August, the community is invited to come along to the bandstand, where they will have another chance to get involved with the project. Barbara and Gemma will be running free Design A Tile workshops, where participants will be able to get creative by designing a tile on the paving stones under the bandstand using chalk. The 30-minute workshops are free, but need to be booked in advance - more information and how to book are available on the West End Centre website.

Community Programme Coordinator at West End Centre, Alana Jones, said: "This project has given many people a sense of community spirit at a time when we have needed it most. During lockdown, a lot of people have felt really isolated - mental health and how we can look after our own wellbeing have really come through to the forefront of the project. It has enabled people to create their mandalas safely at home, whilst at the same time allowing participants to feel part of a much larger project that the whole community can enjoy." 

 Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Planning and Economy, Councillor Marina Munro, said: "We are delighted to be supporting another project that brings colour and vibrancy to the town centre and brightens up people's visits to the beautiful Princes Gardens. I would encourage people to visit our local shops to get something for a picnic and then head over to enjoy the mandala artwork throughout the summer. The installation is one of several projects celebrating our diverse community, which culminates in the grand unveiling of a new Gurkha statue in late September. The arts projects sit alongside our free Super Summer Saturdays family events programme in Aldershot town centre." 

The Crafty Culture: Make a Mandala installation opens just a few weeks before the return of the West End Centre's group of the same name in September. Crafty Culture is a free class for people from all backgrounds and cultures who come together to create and craft at the arts centre every week. The group is aimed at anyone from the local area whose mental health and wellbeing would benefit from a free, drop-in craft session, or who is interested in meeting other people from different cultural backgrounds. 

More information on the opening activities, the project and how to take part can be found on the West End Centre website.

For more information regarding free town centre family events and arts projects including Super Summer Saturdays, visit our Rushmoor arts and events diary page.

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