“When I was growing up in a semi rural environment we had occasional visits from mobile services. Sometimes it would be a Co-Op food van, sometimes a library. But it was the artbus that captured my imagination and generated so many sparks of excitement and creativity. It was a basic thing, but the impact has never left me.
It’s one of the reasons I’m an artist now, and it’s why we, as the Test Valley Arts Foundation, have bought our own ex-library bus. We are currently re-homing and refitting it, transforming it into a Bus of Many Things to serve, entertain, and inspire the communities of the Test Valley.”
The Test Valley is a decidedly rural area and transport links can often be poor or non-existent. It can be very difficult for some residents to get involved in their local culture as they cannot travel to larger towns and cities where most events and activities happen. The area also has an aging population, many of whom may not be able to travel very far from their home. Various educational institutes also populate the area, including primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and schools for those with special needs or abilities. Again, many of these are located in rural areas and young people and their families can often be in as much danger of becoming isolated as the elderly.
Due to the fluid and movable nature of this concept, the possibilities are virtually endless. Imagine the bus parked at a local village hall so that residents are able to come and visit, either to take part in workshops, view exhibitions or to simply watch artists working.
We want community groups, events and schools to consider the bus as an alternative innovative space for their activities.
- To create a diverse arts programme using the BMT in the Test Valley
- To effectively the BMT as a workshop space, exhibition space, mobile cinema, darkroom, classroom, social archive setting for example.
- To find out, by testing and evaluating the programme, the benefits and challenges of the BMT as an arts resource.
- To realise the potential of the BMT so that schools, community groups, arts and arts organisations can confidently hire and make use of the resource in the longer term.
- To facilitate and create employment opportunities for artists to work across the Test Valley
- To enable artists and arts organisations to explore new ways of working using the bus.
- For Chapel Arts Studios (CAS) to build and secure new partnerships with community organisations, arts organisations, schools and tourist destinations in Test Valley
- To build awareness of the BMT as a resource for the borough and wider region
- To create opportunities for people to volunteer for the arts as volunteer drivers/ assistants
- To create opportunities for more cultural activities to take place in rural locations
Join the ride!