Take Art

Take Art is a pioneering arts charity, serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset. We do this by providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience, participate and work within the arts.

All the latest from Take Art
  1. Image for news story: Happy Christmas - Enjoy Your Present

    Welcome to a new year and a new adventure with Take Art, the leading Somerset Arts charity reaching out to the far flung corners and forgotten communities with ground-breaking creative opportunities.

    Take Art is all about taking great arts experiences, shows and workshops to rural areas. We also put artists, schools and early years settings together, so that the children of Somerset can access more creative opportunities to learn, play and perform.

    Every Christmas we launch our 2018 Jan-June programme, listing the Take Art rural touring events near you and any opportunities we have for young people, dancers, artists and performers to network and build their careers.

    We also like to shout out about the good stuff we are doing in the county to help people through the Arts. It’s worth mentioning because it is happening and it is making a difference.

    To find out what’s on and how we can benefit your life and career you could:

    1. Open the Take Art programme below… just click on it and have a browse.

    2. Visit the What’s On Pagesby clicking here.

    3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing info@takeart.org



  2. Image for news story: Arts for All – and a Gold Star for Gina

    The Gold Star Awards primarily focus on celebrating children and young people and the adults who volunteer and work with them.

    The coveted Lifetime Achievement award was won by Gina Westbrook, much to her abashed surprise. The ceremony took place on Monday 23 October at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, in front of 600 people.

    Gina said later, “I was shocked but immensely honoured to receive this award. The work I do is only possible thanks to willing partnerships with Early Years practitioners, funders and artists in a sector that has been under a lot of stress. I'm privileged to be supported by a team of amazing people at Take Art who share my passion for creativity for Somerset's very youngest. And can I thank my creative mum who paved the way in all this."

    Jane Parker the Early Years Manager at Take Art who nominated Gina for the award said, Gina has dedicated much of her career to Somerset's pioneering arts charity Take Art. In that time she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide opportunities for our very youngest people in Somerset (age 0 to 5), their families and carers to experience and participate in high quality arts experiences. She is hugely admired by fellow Somerset Early Years setting leaders, EYs consultants, national arts charities and academics.’

    ‘Gina's inspirational funded projects have brought together an array of people working within Early Years, encouraging them to reflect on their practice and collaborate with each other to make the best creative experiences happen - often in the most deprived areas of Somerset. In short, her vision 'Arts for All' has had a huge impact on many people, enriching their sense of belonging within our Somerset community.”

    Councillor Sylvia Seal, South Somerset's Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture said, "South Somerset District Council is committed to supporting young people year round and this awards ceremony gives well deserved recognition to so many of our local heroes."

    We are all very proud of Gina here at Take Art, as she continues her pioneering Early Years work on projects such as the Early Years music network Soundwaves Extra and the Early Years touring theatre project Hopper.

    Gina will be speaking at Small Steps: Big Noise on 15 March 2018, The South West’s biggest Early Years Expressive Arts Conference, bringing together EY practitioners, artists, music leaders, settings, regional hubs, funders, researchers and strategic partners.


    Photo above: Lifetime Achievement Award - Gina Westbrook (Photo credit: Len Copland)

  3. Image for news story: Happy 30th Birthday Take Art: A new programme for a new era!

    It's the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness and that means a new Take Art brochure, full of inspiring ways to boost your melatonin, decorate your evenings and improve your social life.

    Take Art is a leading Somerset Arts charity all about taking arts experiences, shows and workshops to rural areas. We also put artists, schools and early years settings together, so that the children of Somerset can access more creative opportunities to learn, play and perform.

    Every September we launch our autumn programme, listing the Take Art Rural Touring events near you and any opportunities we have for young people, dancers, artists and performers to network and build their careers.

    We also like to shout out about the good stuff we are doing in the county to help people through the Arts. It’s worth mentioning because it is happening and it is making a difference.

    To find out what’s on and how we can benefit your life and career you could:

    1. Open the Take Art programme below… just click on it and have a browse.

    2. Visit the What’s On Pages by clicking here.

    3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing info@takeart.org


    Cover Image: Brilliance by Farnham Maltings
    Photo credit: Shayne Shaw, Beyond Infinity Photography


  4. Image for news story: Interview with the new Director of Dance

    Could you tell us a little bit about your journey as a dance practitioner?

    Dance has been a huge part of my life for the last 25 years. It's an artform that has such a wonderful way of allowing people to experience their own creativity through their own physicality.

    I started out as an independent dance artist and practitioner, spending over ten years delivering professional performance work and workshops in educational and community settings across the Midlands, where I was fortunate enough to work as a guest dance lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

    After completing my MA in Cultural Studies at Nottingham I moved back to Lincolnshire to take up a prominent strategic role as the Dance Development Officer for artsNK. I spent over four fabulous years there and this is really where my strategic dance career began. I went on to become Dance Development Officer at Staffordshire County Council, delivering a strategic plan for the development of dance across the county, including leading on an amazing large-scale, county-wide, Cultural Olympiad project.

    I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to teach, work and dance with some amazing people and professional artists over my career.

    How do you feel about moving to Somerset and starting at Take Art?

    I am absolutely delighted to be able to live and work here and to be returning to a role within my own specialism in dance, working alongside the wonderful team at Take Art.

    Take Art has an enviable reputation for delivering high quality work in both performance and participation and the dance programme is extremely well established.

    I also want to help enable as many people as possible to see and experience professional work, there is always something incredibly exciting about watching dancers moving as part of a professional dance performance. I am also passionate about community engagement and inclusivity and the power of the arts to enhance and transform people’s lives.

    With all that said this role is a fantastic new opportunity for me. I am joining Take Art at a really exciting time, as they consolidate their artistic vision for the next four years. I am definitely looking forward to playing my part.

    To get in touch with Alison call her on 01460 249450 or email alison@takeart.org 

  5. Image for news story: Take Art awarded four more years of NPO Arts Council Funding

    Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West,  Arts Council England, says: “We are very pleased to be renewing our investment in Take Art. They take great art and culture into the hearts of the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset and support our mission to give more people in more places the opportunity to engage in exciting cultural experiences on their doorsteps.”

    Ralph Lister, Take Art's Chief Executive said 'Take Art has received strategic Arts Council funding since the early 1990s and this new round of funding is a testament to our continued contribution to the cultural heart of Somerset. It goes without saying we are very happy with this result and look forward to the next four years."

    Watch this short film to find out more about us...

    Take Art is a pioneering charity and driving force for developing and connecting the arts with individuals and communities in Somerset. Starting as a rural touring scheme in 1987, we are now one of the county’s leading arts organisations. From our office base on a farm near South Petherton, we see ourselves as a catalyst for bringing brings artists, companies, venues, audiences and participants together. Our work takes place in partnership with other organisations (both arts and non-arts) in various settings including village halls, schools, pre-school settings, Pupil Referral Units, medical centres and theatres.

    In other positive news, Take Art has also retained its local authority funding from Taunton Deane and South Somerset County Council, which will enable us to continue our groundbreaking rural touring programme within these areas.

    To find out about all our current projects and activities please visit www.takeart.org


  6. Image for news story: ROUND 2: Barn Theatre Initiative Grant Applications.

    BARN resources theatre-makers to take risks, build resilience and sustain their practice, artistically and financially.

    We currently have eight modest grants available for this round of funding, of between £50 and £250, which will give a little boost to those theatre-makers based in Somerset.

    The grants can be used for anything that will enhance their work, such as hiring a rehearsal space, equipment, marketing, training courses, etc.

    Round Two: Opened 19 June with a deadline of 24 July 2017.

    We're thrilled that BARN is happening and wish to thank our colleagues at the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for supporting our theatre-making aspirations in Somerset.

    Please visit the BARN page to find out more and to apply for your grant.

  7. Image for news story: Re-imagining Taunton in Poetry

    Taunton PoemNEW from Take Art on Vimeo.

    Taunton is not often celebrated as one of the most inspirational of towns, although a key conurbation in Somerset's urban landscape it somehow lacks the romance or historic charm of Wells, or the quirky defiance of Frome.

    That didn't stop the 12 or so budding writers and poets who gathered in Taunton Library one Friday morning in June to reshape and reclaim the poetic heart of the town. With the help of Performance Poets Liv Torc and David Reakes they explored alot of the stigma and emptional context of the town, creating group pieces to be performed and filmed at locations throughout Taunton.

    Their words will be taken and used by Arts Taunton to input into a new creative vision for the town.

    We wanted to share a couple of pieces from the workshop, including a poem based on the Taunton skyline as it is now and a video group poem based on the intricate complexities of the town now and in the future.


  8. Image for news story: Theatre for the under 5s gets a hop in the right direction

    The selected companies are:

    • Tangled Feet,
    • Dancing Strong
    • Hikapee
    • Second Hand Dance
    • Flibbertigibbet theatre
    • AYCORN East (a collaboration between Charlotte Arculus of Magic Adventure and Joy Haynes of Norwich Puppet Theatre).

    Tamsin Mosse, Hopper Project Manager at Take Art comments,
    “We were thrilled at the response, the standard was very high and competition was intense, with over 70 applications from the UK, America, Norway and Spain. The six successful companies all offered something visually exciting, intriguing and full of potential.”

    Over the next two years, Hopper will work with the six chosen companies to take shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer, less advantaged areas.

    Once selected, a representative from each company will be invited to take part in a Lab programme, a residency that will bring artists, Early Years staff and theatre managers together to explore how to reach more children with quality performances.

    Paul Warwick, Director at China Plate explains,
    “The Lab is a chance to increase the amount of live performance that can tour into Early Years settings – taking the work directly to children who may not have seen theatre or dance before. It’s such an opportunity, and could spark an interest in the arts that lasts a lifetime."

    This initial pilot is based in Somerset and Surrey in specific areas with low levels of arts participation and identified disadvantaged families.

    Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate are running the project, which has been generously funded by Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Partnership Surrey and aims to encourage more artists to make high quality shows that can tour to nurseries, children centres and libraries.

    Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”



    For further details please contact Tamsin Mosse, Project Manager on 01460 249450 or email tamsin@takeart.org

    Hopper is steered by a dynamic partnership between Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate. Please click here to visit the project pages.

  9. Image for news story: Summit Else!

    Somerset Summit

    Friday 24 November | 10am – 5pm | Monks Yard, Ilminster, Somerset

    AIMED AT:PRU staff and other educational professionals working with vulnerable young people including NEETs, SEND, Music Leaders, Policy Makers and Funders.

    "She loves music - when she does music it helps her cope with life."

    Take Art and Actiontrack Performance Company have been successfully delivering the music workshop programme My Tunes since 2012, working in ten Somerset PRU settings across the county, as well as with vulnerable young adults and Looked After Children.

    Over the past five years, My Tunes has positively impacted on the lives, self exteem and aspirations of over 150 young people, either through one to one or group music workshops. These sessions have taken place regularly in PRU Centres and at Actiontrack's recording studio.

    The Somerset Summit aims to share the success and experiences of My Tuneswith other people working in this area, combining ideas and best practice, practical sessions with professional presentations. The intention is to come up with ideas to further support this vital work both in Somerset and across the UK.

    My Tunes has been generously supported by Youth Music and local funders including Sound Foundation Somerset (Somerset Music Education Hub), Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and the Taunton Maid Bursary Trust

    For those wishing to attend...

    50 Places available:To book email Ruth Copping ruth@takeart.orgor phone 01460 249450

    Cost: Somerset practitioners – free of charge. Other attendees: £30 to include lunch

    Download the Somerset Summit programme below.

  10. Image for news story: Job Opportunity: Early Years Music Practitioner

    Soundwaves Extra: Taunton Opportunity Group Project

    Take Art is looking to recruit an Early Years music practitioner with an interest in working in our Taunton setting for our Soundwaves Extra project.

    Soundwaves Extra: Early Years Music project brief:

    Soundwaves Extra is an innovative and exciting Youth Music network for all those interested in quality Early Years music education across the South West. It has been set up to grow and improve Early Years music opportunities, generating training opportunities, projects and events in Early Years settings. Currently, Soundwaves Extra is providing a series of targeted projects across the region, focusing on musical opportunities for specific groups of young people in challenging circumstances, including a project at Taunton Opportunity Group (TOG). TOG is a small pre-school specialising in supporting families with babies and young children who have a wide range of special needs and disabilities.


    • Summer term 2017: Recruitment of music practitioner in partnership with TOG
    • Autumn Term 2017: Sessions with children and staff, reflection, evaluation

    Fees: £1,375 for the project, broken down as follows:

    •     Design and Delivery of Professional Development Inset for TOG staff -  £125.00
    •     Sessions with TOG (9 x ½ day sessions – joint planning time with staff / co-delivery and post reflection time with staff) - £1,125.00
    •     Additional planning and evaluation time - £125.00
    •     Travel (up to 10 journeys) as required

    Project aims:

    • Increase use of music between vulnerable under 5s, parents and staff across home and setting
    • Increase knowledge, skills and understanding of staff, parents and carers
    • Raise profile of quality music practice contributing to the wider EYs network

    During the 10 week project we will be expecting the music leader to:

    • Lead a professional development inset for the group of participating staff at TOG
    • Work alongside TOG staff to provide high quality music experiences for children with a wide range of special needs and disabilities
    • Contribute to the project evaluation

    How to Apply:

    If you are interested in taking on the role of this Early Years Music Practitioner in the project please submit the short application by Monday 12 June 2017 at midday. You can download the application below.

    Short-listed candidates will be invited for interview on the morning of Thurs 6 July and asked to prepare a short activity with staff and a small group of children (age 2 – 5 with SEND) at TOG.

    To submit an application or if you have any questions please contact Jane Parker on jane@takeart.org

    Please visit our Soundwaves Extra pages to find out more about this exciting Music Network.