Make Art Happen

2014 - 2018

A training programme for community and voluntary organisations who want to produce their own arts residencies or festivals.

Make Art Happen programme was a real world development programme where community volunteers and local artists apply new found knowledge and expertise into actions with Helix Arts scaffolding to support the process.

Trainees learnt how to design, deliver and manage an arts project. Specific modules include planning, artist recruitment, marketing, financial control, production, evaluation, fundraising and sustainability.

Participants then gained the skills, motivation and confidence to produce their own arts programmes in their own communities.

Early models of Make Art Happen involved collaboration with community and voluntary organisations to help individuals within their local community to set up and manage ongoing arts programmes for, and with, their local community.

Between 2015 and 2019, 12 Make Art Happen training programmes took place across the North East region, which led to even further community art project led by volunteers and artists.

Partners included:

  • Cedarwood Community Centre, North Tyneside (Pilot)
  • Bill Quay Farm, Gateshead
  • Old Low Lights Heritage Centre, North Tyneside
  • Blakelaw youth and Community Centre, Newcastle
  • Mind, South Tyneside
  • The Cultural Spring, Sunderland
  • St Chad’s Community Centre, Bensham and Teams, Gateshead
  • Red Hall Community Centre, Darlington
  • Birtley Hub, Gateshead
  • Peregrini Lindisfarne, Northumberland
  • Gateshead artists, Gateshead
  • Colour Your Life, Leisureworks, Durham


Key outputs of Make Art Happen

  • 12 training programmes involving 114 individuals
  • 87 trainees were engaged and supported
  • 16 participatory arts projects were commissioned
  • 26 artists were provided with employment
  • Over 200 participants were engaged with
  • 8 events/exhibitions resulted in a cumulative audience of 40,000
  • Helix Arts enabled 8 of 12 programmes to continue to deliver arts projects in their communities

Introducing Make Art Happen

Make Art Happen Compact

A compact version of Make Art Happen was developed in response to participants needs. The programme gave fewer aspects of training modules and smaller scale activities. The programme was still a mixture of learning and doing.

This was rolled out to Josephine Butler College, Durham University.

Make Art Happen was the formative programme to what is now known as Make it Happen.

Trainees brainstorming'

“All of the course was really useful not just for the current art project we’re running but for future ones and general life experience. I now feel better equipped in future…The huge difference that art projects can make to the lives of communities has really been made apparent.”

Trainee Josephine Butler College, Durham University

Want to find out more about this or similar programmes?

For more information and to chat about how Make Art Happen can help you and your community, please drop us a line.

Cheryl Gavin

M: 07976 240570

Thank you to our funders.

This was funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and externally evaluation Small means Big –¬†Make Art Happen evaluation.