Storyhouse is taking art and creativity outside this summer with five fantastic days of free art activity in the heart of Chester.

Five talented professionals will lead the Create Art With an Artist open air sessions in Town Hall Square on Thursdays and Sundays during July and August, with each session based on the idea of looking forward after the pandemic.

Participants will have the chance to work with a range of media including textiles, sculpture, crafts, writing and illustration to create their own amazing artworks.

And then the pieces they produce will be taken by the professional artists and turned into a fabulous, collaborative larger work which will be displayed at Storyhouse itself.

The free activity starts on Thursday, 29 July when graphic designer and animator Carol Hanson will invite people to create a fictitious flower or fruit in collage for a cartoon front room in which everything – from the fireplace to family portraits to ornamental flying ducks on the walls – is made of paper, papiermâché, collage, books and decoupage-covered recycled items.

In the middle of this life-size installation will be whimsical trees which will appear to have sprung from where books have been left, spreading their magic around the room and in a canopy across the ceiling to create a wild wonderland.

On Sunday, 8 August, illustrator Nikki Pinder will encourage visitors to use coloured pens to draw their own visual interpretations of their thoughts and feelings experienced during the pandemic.

The artist will then add these images in jigsaw pieces to a giant robot’s head to create a ‘face of feelings’ which help draw together people’s vast range of experiences in one symbol of togetherness.

Textile artist and printmaker Clare Owens leads the day on Thursday, 12 August, celebrating the support of the public for all the people who work in the health and care sectors.

Participants will have the opportunity to try out textile or craft skills like print, stencils or slow-stitch to create an enormous pair of hospital scrubs alongside pomander bags.

Chester’s new historical attraction Sick to Death will also be involved in the craft day with activity related to health and medicine through the ages.

Sunday, 22 August sees budding creatives being given the chance to construct and decorate their own insects under the expert guidance of Cheshire community arts collective Art in the Place.

Give your bugs names and their own personalities and then take one home with you while the other stays and lives on the giant plants and flowers which artists Alison Pitt and Pat Tripney will make during the course of the day.

And finally, on Thursday, 26 August community art educator Neuza Morais will help people turn the emotions they felt during lockdown into a work of art or piece of writing or poetry which will then be added to a house of memories and emotions.

The award-winning artist hopes the project will tell the stories of the Chester community during the pandemic – both of loneliness and loss but also of bravery, hope and change.

Each of the five arts sessions runs from 11am to 5pm and is free.

This project has been funded by Destination Chester – a local network led by Chester’s top attractions and businesses – which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, and will enable Chester and the wider area to be taken forward and grow its status as a ‘go-to’ tourist destination throughout the summer and autumn.”


Jamie Christon, CEO of Chester Zoo and Chair of Destination Chester, said: “At Destination Chester we share a passion for our amazing city and are therefore delighted to be welcoming back visitors with great activities like these.

Our aim is to support the businesses and sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, from retail and hospitality to attractions and events, and creative freelancers. This is the first of many collaborative programmes that Destination Chester will bring to our city over the coming months.”

This project has been funded by Welcome Back Fund (WBF). WBF is managed by Her Majesty’s Government and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Storyhouse are planning more free activities and events throughout the next 6 months for the community and visitors as part of the same fund.

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For more information, contact:

Nancy Davies

Marketing and PR Manager


07886 743531




Thursday, 29 July

Join graphic designer and animator Carol Hanson to create a collaged flower or fruit for a front room made from paper products.

Sunday, 8 August

Illustrator Nikki Pinder will guide you to draw your feelings about the pandemic to decorate a giant robot face.

Thursday, 12 August

Textile artist and printmaker Clare Owens will create colourful bunting containing illustrated words of hope for the future.

Sunday, 22 August

Make and decorate your own bugs with arts collective Art in the Place.

Thursday, 26 August

Express your lockdown emotions in a piece of art guided by community art Neuza Morais.

All sessions are free and run from 11am to 5pm


About Storyhouse  

Storyhouse is one of the UK’s foremost cultural centres incorporating a library, theatres and a cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million customer visits each year.

The pioneering new library within Storyhouse, where members of the community work alongside city librarians, boasts the longest opening hours of any UK public library and is open every day until 11pm. It runs over 2,000 sessions a year for marginalised communities

The company also runs a highly successful theatre company and the country’s most successful regional open-air theatre, in the city’s Grosvenor Park and Moonlight Flicks open air cinema.

Storyhouse currently holds the official title as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre and was the overall national winner in the 2018 Guardian Public Service Awards

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Notes to editors

Funding to provide the services in this tender is being sought from the Welcome Back Fund (WBF). WBF is managed by Her Majesty’s Government and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.


The project is receiving more than £300,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit