8 Miles

Wed 28 Jul 2021 @ 13:38

All Aboard – Announcing new creative drama and arts project on Island Line

Press release July 2021

8 Miles

Independent Arts, the Island’s art for wellbeing charity has an exciting new project to announce. 8 Miles is a community engagement project that celebrates the re-opening of the Island Line and Southwest Railway’s commitment to the station communities that they serve.

The project will kick off this month with a programme that will reflect the social history of the railway and the relevance and importance that the railway and rail travel will play in supporting sustainable transport and reducing the Island’s carbon footprint.

Two bold public art events will take place later in the year. Look out for the first of these - a living history event where visitors from the past will literally step onto the trains and may even be seated beside you!

8 Miles Project Manager Hannah Griffiths explained how it’s going to work:

“We’re inviting anyone with an interesting tale about the Island line or who’s interested in creating characters to join some open workshops running weekly in Ryde and Sandown. We’re expecting these workshops to be filled with some great conversations and anecdotes, a little light research and plenty of creative invention! The idea being that a set of characters will subsequently emerge. We also plan to put a call out to all aspiring actors, amateur performers and general Island flamboyants to bring these characters to life in a piece of living history to be staged on the Island Line. We hope the public and passengers will join in and ad lib with the characters and bring the drama to life!”

Not content with filling the trains with drama, Independent Arts have a second public art event in the pipeline too. For this project they have teamed up with Island photographer Julian Winslow and Artecology to stage an ambitious event which will map the typography of the 8 miles of track. Julian has been commissioned to create a drawing machine which will use the locomotive motion of the train to create a mapped image of the journey travelled.

Programme Manager Kerry Tindall explained:

“We wanted to explore the connection between the trains, the built environment, the communities they serve, and the incredible natural corridor the trains pass through most of which forms part of the Island’s unique biosphere. We have some great field workshops planned for the end of July (Friday 30th and Saturday 31st) with Artecology that are free for families to sign up for and anyone that comes along will be invited to join us on board to map their own journeys.”

As part of this project Julian will also create a visual photographic interpretation and all the work produced will form part of a closing exhibition.

If you’d like to take part in either or both events and workshops, please call Independent Arts 01983 822437 or email [email protected] to reserve your place. Places are limited and workshops will be running from the end of July.

Save My Seat Island Line workshops

Trace The Track ecology workshop


Looking Out From Lockdown: The Tour

Wed 23 Jun 2021 @ 17:03

Community Creativity Through Covid

Press Release 24 June 2021

Local arts for wellbeing charity, Independent Arts, are pleased to announce their forthcoming Looking Out From Lockdown tour, taking place at various venues across the Isle of Wight this summer.

Looking Out From Lockdown is an Island-wide project celebrating the creativity of Island people during lockdown, both in 2020, and again in 2021. In collaboration with Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Susie Sheldon, Independent Arts offered people the chance to exhibit their lockdown creations online, be it painting, photographs, poetry, music, speech, pottery, writing, crafts, projects, inventions, baking, gardening or anything else creative completed to keep spirits up during lockdown.

Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight Susie Sheldon and Lisa Gagliani, CEO of Independent Arts

Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight Susie Sheldon (left) and Lisa Gagliani, CEO of Independent Arts, with some of the art to be featured in the upcoming Looking Out From Lockdown exhibitions.

Pieces from this online gallery have now been selected to feature in a series of summer exhibitions which will take place in Ryde, Ventnor, Cowes, Freshwater and Newport from July through to September, giving as many people as possible the chance to visit and see the work created by a cross section of Islanders during the pandemic. Work was submitted from all corners of the Isle of Wight, from those aged 7 – 77, and includes landscape paintings, sketches, sculptures, photography, as well as flower arrangements and baking!

Independent Arts CEO, Lisa Gagliani MBE, said:

“As a charity committed to supporting people who are isolated across the Island, we felt during Lockdown that was time to get everyone on side with arts for wellbeing. The online gallery proved really popular and now that we can all venture out, we are delighted to pull the Tour together and bring much needed footfall to some of our cherished cafés and other venues.”

As well as free-to-view weeklong exhibitions, there is also a ticketed event taking place at Medina Bookshop, Cowes, where attendees will be able to see a selection of pieces, as well as live performances of poetry and spoken word from the online collection. The free-to-view shows will be taking place at:

  • 13th – 22nd July – Monkton Arts, Ryde
  • 23rd July – 1st August – Ventnor Fringe, Ventnor
  • 17th August – 1800-2030 – Evening reception at Medina Publishing, Cowes (ticketed event)
  • 23rd – 27th August – Freshwater Coffee House, Freshwater
  • 13th – 19th September – Independent Arts Creative Hub, 48 Newport High St

The exhibitions have been funded by WightAid, and are presented in collaboration with Lord Lieutenant Susie Sheldon, who said:

“The response to ‘Looking out from Lockdown’ has been a delight with so many varied contributions from so many Islanders. This exhibition gives a taste of the quality and variety of these contributions and celebrates not only the wonderful work done by Independent Arts but the amazing resilience and creativity of Islanders over the last 16 months.”

For more information on Looking Out From Lockdown, or Independent Arts, please contact us.


Thank you to WightAid for funding the summer 2021 Looking Out From Lockdown exhibitions around the island and to Daisie Rich Trust for funding the online gallery. Looking Out From Lockdown is an extension of Independent Arts' online Festival of Islesolation, developed during the first lockdown in 2020 with funding from ACE (Arts Council England).


Thank you card competition winners

Tue 25 May 2021 @ 11:07

Independent Arts, local arts for wellbeing charity, are pleased to be able to announce the two winning designs of their recent Thank You Card Competition.

In March 2021 Independent Arts asked Isle of Wight residents to get creative in designing a new Thank You card for the charity to use to thank supporters for the coming year, to which they had a great response and some fantastic entries!

A panel made up of staff and trustees was tasked with choosing the winning Under 18 (Children’s) and Over 18 (Adults) entries and after some deliberation the winners were chosen as Jackie Homes (below) and Lily Kingsland, aged 4 years (above), for their entries.

Winner of the Over 18 category, Jackie said:

"Thank you so much, I was over the moon to have won your card competition. As a follower of Independent Arts, I support everything that they do in using creativity in all forms to bring people of the Island together especially the elderly, vulnerable and isolated. I love doing art myself and as I have a sight problem, I appreciate this opportunity to share my achievement. I wanted to represent the many things that Independent arts can offer the people of the Island and how the love of creativeness brings people together and is also important for all our wellbeing."

Both cards have now been professionally printed and produced by local printers All Things Printed Ltd and will be used by Independent Arts to write thank you notes to their supporters, donors, fundraisers, and volunteers.

Lisa Gagliani MBE, Independent Arts CEO, said:

"As far as I know, this is the first time we have created a bespoke card to thank our supporters and volunteers. It seemed entirely the right thing to do after such a difficult year and knowing that many people have found comfort in creativity, to ask the public to design a card for us. We have lots of people to thank – so these lovely cards will be put to immediate use and will be sure to bring a smile to anyone who receives one."

Independent Arts have recently opened their new Creative Hub at 48 High Street, Newport. The Creative Hub is a place to attend creative workshops for wellbeing and is a gallery to showcase participants' creativity. The charity works with vulnerable groups of all ages, many with complex needs. The ethos of the charity is to use creative pursuits and conversation to tackle social and emotional isolation.

The Thank You cards are not for sale. The charity plans to create a range of merchandise inspired by participants' artwork in time for Christmas.

Winning thank you card competition entry by Jackie Homes


70 Mile May

Thu 15 Apr 2021 @ 12:38

70 Mile May

Put your best foot forward and join us for 70 Mile May

May 2021 is national walking month, so please join us in our 70 Miles in May fundraising challenge, the equivalent of walking the Isle of Wight's costal paths over the month, around 2.25 miles per day!

The challenge

Walk the equivalent of the island’s costal paths, a total of 70 miles, outdoors, over the month of May.

How to sign up

Join the fundraising campaign and set up your own fundraising page on JustGiving. To sign up simply follow the link and hit "Start fundraising".

How to track your miles

You could use your smartphone, watch or Strava or a good old map to track your miles. If you are using Strava, you can link this directly to your fundraising page (we can help set this up!) so all your walking activities will automatically post to your page, meaning your supporters can follow how you’re getting on! If you’re using your phone, watch or map, you can upload pictures and posts to your fundraising page to keep people up to date, if you wish!


We’ve set a fundraising target of £70, equal to £1 a mile, but this is a target not an obligation! Raise what you can, set your own personal target higher if you hit your target during the challenge, and spread the word by getting other people involved. If you want to fundraise as a team or household, you can set a group target, and complete the challenge collectively!

Once you've signed up

Once you set up your page, you’ll be invited to join a private ‘Independent Arts Fundraisers’ facebook group. Within this group you can share updates, ask for advice, and see how everyone else is getting on. The challenge will officially begin from Saturday May 1st and end Monday May 31st. All you need to do once your fundraising page is up and running is share your fundraising page with friends and family, and start walking! You can approach the challenge in the way that best suits you; you could aim to walk 2.25 miles every day of the month, or do some bigger more challenging walks every weekend to make up the milage, it’s entirely up to you.

The challenge will officially begin from Saturday May 1st and end Monday May 31st. All you need to do once your fundraising page is up and running is share your fundraising page with friends and family, and start walking!

For further information please call 01983 822437 or email [email protected]


Creative Chronicle

Fri 9 Apr 2021 @ 9:06

Creative Chronicle is our new Arts Council funded three-edition magazine designed for people over 55 and packed full of local history, arts and creativity.

Available in digital, paper or listenable form, please get in touch if you would like a printed copy or know somebody that would. All three print editions are now available (March, April, May).

You can email [email protected] or call us on 01983 822437.

You can find the downloadable and listenable versions of Edition 1 below.

Happy reading!

Creative Chronicle edition 1

Download Creative Chronicle Edition 1


Scan & Listen to Creative Chronicle Edition 1

Creative Chronicle 1 listenable edition QR code

Thanks to Sight for Wight for assisting with the listenable edition.


Download Creative Chronicle Edition 2


Download Creative Chronicle Edition 3



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