THE arts in Taunton came alive this summer thanks to the efforts of Taunton Live 2018.

This month long celebration of the Arts & Culture throughout July took place in and around the county town, and included a ‘Big Saturday’ celebration event on Goodland Gardens.

The theme for the 2018 festival was “Embracing the Arts” and was co-ordinated by Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin who booked and arranged all the events.

Jenny explained all these events were facilitated through Taunton Live’s inclusive, creative and performing arts festival which comprised of:

- Community Arts Projects held workshops, an inspiring exhibition in Taunton Library and a collaborative outdoor art trail. These brought together community groups and promoted such as My Day, GreenDays, Arc (formally TAH), Priory Adult Care and Cream Care to name a few to create and share their stories through Art, Green Day’s even put on their own mini arts festival in their shop and outside on the High Street with Drumming, Dancing and Carpool Karaoke.

- Primary Schools’ 4-11 Projects with free to schools workshops and exhibitions

- Schools’ Poetry Competition workshops and exhibition with anthology and exhibition organised by Poet Matt Brydon and Fire River Poets.

- Knit & Natter Groups worked hard on woolly creations all year round for the incredible Yarnbombing Trail coordinated by Marcia Hill, not only did this provide entertainment for hundreds of Trail goers but the groups have formed friendships and supportive communities.

- Schools’ Competitions & Exhibitions 14-19, 11-14, showcased the variety of young talented artists from The Castle School, Heathfield, Richard Huish and Bridgwater & Taunton College among others.

Jenny said: “Taunton’s Got Talent Competition, Kindly hosted by and housed in the incredible Mecca Bingo building where local artists showcased their talents. The winner, singer, musical and songwriter Leila-Fay scooped the £500 cash prize and winners trophy.

“Yarn-bombing popped up all over town, ‘Adopt-an-artist’ mini-exhibitions of artwork adorned local shops and businesses. Hand-painted banners by local artists hanging along Hammet Street, framing the iconic view of St. Mary Magdalene Church.

“Paper workshops with various groups of Brownies and Girl Guides helped to create an incredible outdoor mural of flowers on the Mecca wall facing Castle Green and Exhibitions galore!”

Big Saturday burst into life on July 21 - A one day free festival event on Goodland Gardens which boasted:

- Two Music stages,Dance Area, Poetry/Literary Area, Artists quarter with Art demonstrations & workshops (Clay, painting, drawing, glass making, graffiti, quilling) dedicated children’s area with Story-telling, Poetry & Art Games Participation. A Knitting Tent, Artisan Food stalls, Bar plus active presence from Richard Huish College. Performance areas gave time and space for performances by professional artists and community groups from ‘All Walks of life’...

Liz said: “GoCreate has decided Taunton Live will be having a ‘Fallow year’ … they are busy planning a big splash in 2020 with Taunton Live Arts Fringe and welcome approaches from anyone wanting to get involved, but in the meantime feast your senses of what we have planned for 2019...

“Taunton’s Got Talent will return next year with two separate categories; an under 18’s and over 18’s with prizes for both. Mecca Bingo has expressed their wish to continue hosting the auditions and Finals in their famous building where Sir Elton John, The Beatles and Rod Stewart performed.

“Go Create will support theKnit & Natter Groups who will work towards a 2019 Yarnbomb.”