Market-themed community arts project in Bury St Edmunds wins national award

Pupils and market traders celebrate the national award in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: ST EDMUNDSBURY B

Pupils and market traders celebrate the national award in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: ST EDMUNDSBURY BOROUGH COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A community arts project which saw Bury St Edmunds school pupils collaborate with market traders and the council to organise a puppet parade has scooped a national award.

Led by local artist Lou Gridley, students from St Benedict’s Catholic School, in Beetons Way, worked with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to arrange the market-themed parade in May last year.

The parade was part of the Love Your Market fortnight and pupils ran a stall offering free flag-making workshops, and returned to sell arts and crafts at two more markets.

The project has been named as Best Market Event in the Great British Market Awards held by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).

Lou Gridley, community artist-in-residence from St Benedict’s, said: “The students went above and beyond in their commitment to the community market project, so I am delighted that this collaboration with the market, council and school has been recognised in the Great British Market Awards.

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“The students learnt so much from having live, contextual art experiences which included responding to a brief to design the market logo and shopping bag, designing and making giant puppets and producing a ceramic mural to celebrate our market town.

“As a school we have developed strong links with the market and we look to continue this throughout 2018.”

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The project was funded by Arts Council England and further supported by Bury St Edmunds town councillor Patrick Chung – who gave locality funding – as well as OurBuryStEdmunds and Tesco.

Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “We already knew that our market is fantastic.

“It is one of the reasons that people come to Bury St Edmunds to shop and to enjoy their leisure time, a fact that was recognised in the town centre masterplan. So I am delighted that it has won this award.”

Darren Old, market trader, who collected the award at the NABMA ceremony in Birmingham last week, said: “This is a brilliant recognition of the market and the work that we do with the council and with partners to try to offer something extra to the experience that our visitors enjoy when shopping on the market.

“The market has changed over the years but it is still going strong. Its importance has been recognised and we have an active voice in helping shape the future growth of the town centre.”

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