Ruthie Collins, founder of Cambridge Art Salon, gives her arty picks of the month
I believe that magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness,” said writer Alan Moore (author of multiple comic classics, from Watchmen to From Hell).
It’s holiday time! Time to dust off the sand and get your cultural fix. So why not go in search of magic this August? Head over to Wysing Arts Centre for All His Ghosts Must Do My Bidding, an exhibition that considers ‘art as magic, artists as magicians, and the studio as a magical site’. With The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as a starting point, expect a retelling of this magical classic that transforms it into a tale of liberation and experimentation. There’s a diverse array of artists at this show, which runs until 25 August and is part of Wysing’s 30th anniversary celebrations.
Roll up, roll up for some circus fun at the Fitzwilliam Museum to kick-start your month. Family Art Week, which sees families taking over the museum, returns from 30 July until 2 August. From 11am until 3pm each morning there are circus-themed free art activities inspired by The Great Belzoni, whose posthumous portrait by Jan Adam Kruseman is in the museum. On 1 and 2 August, see performances by aerialist and hula hooper Daisy Black, plus contortionist Bendini who you may recognise from Disney’s Dumbo film.
It’s holiday time! Time to dust off the sand and get your cultural fix
This summer sees a new activity pack for four to seven-year-olds – with The Great Belzoni one of the featured explorers. Babies, toddlers and older children up to 15 are all catered for with these Fitz Packs, too – so, plenty to keep the family entertained if you want to escape the heat and cool down with some of Cambridge’s most loved museum collections.
Riddle of the White Sphinx, the first in a new Hidden Tales series, will have children dragging their parents round museums this holiday to solve a Cambridge treasure hunt with a real artefact to find – somewhere in the city. This innovative idea from Sorrel May and Mark Wells gets children engaging with reading, as well as museums and their collections, and is supported by Arts Council England. Hidden Tales is hosting events all summer – pop over to Heffers for weekly craft activities, or head to the Scott Polar Institute on Sunday 4 August. You can also enjoy an illustration masterclass at the Fitzwilliam Museum – plenty to keep everyone entertained.
Artefacts are key to most museum collections, but Kettle’s Yard asks: what happens when we don’t know who created a particular object? Artist: Unknown takes this question as its focus, bringing together for the first time an extraordinary selection of anonymous art and artefacts from the University of Cambridge’s renowned museums and collections. Check the Kettle’s Yard website for a series of fascinating talks as podcasts that explore these artefacts – this way, you can enrich yourself with ancient art, without even leaving the house!
Fans of Mill Road – and affordable housing – will be pleased to celebrate the creation of 500 affordable new homes from Cambridge City Council at Mill Road Depot, and across the city, with public art programme, Ironworks.
There’s a chance to come along and meet the artists and engage with the programme at an event at Mill Road Bridge on 20 August; from seed bombing, to a blue plaque-inspired scheme that researches the history of local homes. Artist in residence Hilary Cox Condron and community historian Helen Weinstein are working with the community and four artists who will be producing works for the new public spaces created across the location. Watch out for artists Jo Chapman, Tom Pearman, Rodney Harris and Valda Jackson. The community engagement and public art programme designed for Ironworks will launch with a series of events, ranging from school workshops mapping the ironworks industry in Cambridge, to a pop-up
in collaboration with Calverley’s on Hooper Street.
Finally, visitors to this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival, the longest running folk festival in the world, should look out for art activity delivered by the fantastic Oblique Arts, including large-scale interactive photo boards. This year’s guest festival curator is Nick Mulvey (pictured). He was born in Cambridge and appeared at the Folk Festival in The Den, the festival’s talent development platform for artists under 30, in 2012, so it promises to be a special one. You can see Nick Mulvey perform on Saturday 3 August. Whatever you do, have a fantastic summer!