The WinterBloom project started as a small-scale celebration of light work with local community groups and schools in Colne, Lancashire, to create artwork displayed across the town centre shop windows. The venture was originally funded by a COVID recovery grant, it helped to create an event that was COVID-19-safe and to attract people into the town centre to support the extensive wealth of local, independent businesses. The second event in 2023 evolved into a mesmerising Light Parade, lighting up a dark winter with incredible light displays.
This year, Colne BID will work alongside Building Bridges Pendle, Handmade Productions and the Local Cultural Education Partnership to deliver the ambitious and inclusive community celebration, WinterBloom 2024, animating and revitalising Colne town centre.
BID manager Aneesa McGladdery said “The WinterBloom project isn’t just a festival, it will create a talent development pipeline, working with the local community and engaging with local schools to help us create an incredible light festival.”
The project is specifically designed to create a ladder of creative participation, creating new, accessible and inclusive opportunities for local people to develop their artistic skills and confidence with the aim for them to access new creative career and professional skills development opportunities. As an outdoor, celebratory arts event, the project will allow local people to engage in creative
play and build community connections, enabling engagement with the arts for people from various backgrounds. “It has significantly developed from its inaugural year in 2022 as a one-off event and it has become more artistically ambitious and developed new programmes for community engagement and artist development.”
The light parade event is now well established as an inclusive event in the town’s cultural calendar and aim to deliver 44 workshops, reaching 6,000 people in 2024. “We’re excited about exploring the potential for further developing. WinterBloom beyond the 2024 event and developing our creative aspirations for the longer term of the initiative,” said BID manager Aneesa McGladdery. It is an 18-month project, with a review at the six-month mark to develop the next three years, growing the community elements and the physical festival itself. A key development for WinterBloom is to build structured and sustained creative career development opportunities for local artists, enabling them to develop skills and confidence in all aspects of illuminated art projects and innovative community practice. Developing Pendle’s creative workforce is a priority for this project.
So, what is happening on the actual day? Saturday, 24th February 2024, is the date for your diary for parade day. The incredible Independent Street Artisan Market will return to town to bring a street food arena, handcrafted goods, handmade treats, and drinks. The parade starts from St John’s Church on Albert Road at 6pm and conclude at Colne Bus Station for the grand finale. In addition, the Whimsical Window Walk will return and commence from Blondie Brownie at Turners on Albert Road and will work its way up to the top of town with gorgeous artwork created by ten schools across the borough.
“We are so excited to bring this spectacular, joyful event back to Colne,” Explained Aneesa. We look forward to welcoming visitors to a fun-filled event in our Bonnie little town on the hill.”