Art with Heart’s roving art gallery, The Golden Years Caravan, extends a warm welcome wherever it parks, and we caught it as it rolled-up for the final day of its tour at Waterside Arts, as part of 10-day festival, Refract19.
The experience begins before we even get inside, as we admire the handiwork in the ‘social tent’ where Bucket List Bingo is on offer alongside a whole host of craft activities.
Resplendent in the sun, crochet flowers adorning the space, need no watering, and the equally weather-proof, knitted bunting is certainly not in any danger of being diminished by the odd shower of rain. These colourful creations are the handiwork of Smith’s Knits of Eccles, where the caravan was parked up the previous day.
Inside the caravan-cum-gallery-cum-cinema, are a series of artworks created by retirees, dispelling many of the myths surrounding the experience of growing old.
Admission is free, but tickets are given out to go inside the Golden Years Caravan, to watch a film.
Seated on the old caravan bench type pew, which of course was covered in the obligatory velvet , surrounded by more bunting in violet hues, I watch with awe, as stories unfold from a variety of contributors, all with one thing in common – their advancing years.
I learn about a 66-year-old woman, who supports a school in Gambia, and a gentleman who, when he turned up to register for his degree at Manchester University had a slight initial problem, as the University’s record system ‘only’ went back as far as 1930 and this silver surfer was born in 1929!
The film, produced by Thirty Pound Gentleman, Film Company and executive produced by Art with Heart and Manchester Cares and filmed, edited and directed by Rosie Eliza, is comical, poignant, uplifting and thought provoking.
In my view, the project deserves to continue and be experienced by a wider audience. I am told that with future funding this could be possible and I certainly hope that more people have the privilege of seeing the film, even if they are not as fortunate as me to behold it within the Golden Years Caravan!
Golden Years Caravan a free, drop-in art exhibition from Art with Heart was at Waterside Arts on 21 July 2019.