**An idea in the pipeline…**

As a child Sarah attended the most wonderful cross-disciplinary arts centre on the outskirts of Stokesley during school holidays. From that early age she was bitten by a bug that made her passionate about access to the arts for all, and highly aware of the joy that art can bring to people of all ages in addition to horizon-shifting, memorable experiences and valuable life skills that can be acquired through creative learning and engagement. Consequently, Sarah has spent her career working in the arts, mainly on public engagement programmes for galleries, museums, arts centres, theatre companies and festivals.

Branch Out Arts Club has been running, intermittently – between curatorial work, since January 2015, during this time the Branch Out Arts Facebook pages have quietly bubbled away in the background spreading the word about exciting arts activities taking place locally, regionally and nationally. Behind this activity is a burning desire to inspire young minds (and ignite older ones) through creativity. Branch Out Arts was born with the aim of promoting (and eventually producing) educational, inspirational, but most of all fun arts events and activities that offer everyone, but particularly young people, the opportunity to discover and enjoy the arts as audiences, as learners and as creators. Sarah dreams that the rural region that she grew up in might one day host a magical weekend children’s’ arts festival where families can be inspired, sing, dance and create together in public places transformed into creative spaces. A weekend where families can be exposed to, and participate in, brilliant and breathtaking theatre, dance, music, literature, and art. A weekend that is educational, inspirational, and revelatory – packed to the brim with fun arts events and activities that will offer children and their friends and families the opportunity to discover and enjoy the arts as audiences, as learners and as creators.

This dream of an annual festival, with a different theme each year, sees multi-disciplinary artists placed in local primary schools in the academic term leading up to the festival working with teachers to enhance their ability to teach the arts to children at the same time instigating a project in school inspired by that theme. Under the guidance of the artist(s) the young people would then be able to produce something that they in turn showcase at the festival alongside the professional artists’ productions. Just imagine… imagine the doors, perspectives and possibilities that involvement in such an event would open up for young people living in rural North Yorkshire…

Branch Out Arts is based upon the strong belief that children and young people everywhere should have access to great arts and culture because Sarah believes that art builds resilience, aids problem solving, and ultimately makes people powerful.

Hopefully this dream will come to life in the not too distant future…

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Mike and Ottilie


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