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"Quietness in a Big City"

Summer on the relocated 'Talitha Arts Garden' 2023

“Wonderful and inspiring. Quietness in a big city.”

Photo by Britt Willoughby Dyer

After many months of careful planning, tireless effort and the hard work of all the teams involved, The Talitha Arts Garden had its highly anticipated show-week at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May this year. It was a great success - seeing the garden win ‘Best in Show’ for ‘All About Plants’ and receive a gold medal! We're now thrilled to share the latest updates on our time in the garden since its relocation to St. Margaret's House.

Since the whirlwind of Chelsea, the Talitha Arts Garden has been fittingly relocated and rehomed at St.Margaret’s House - an arts and well-being centre in the heart of Bethnal Green, East London. St.Margaret’s House is a partner of Talitha Arts who shares our ethos of the arts being a positive tool for social change and a means to support and benefit mental health and well-being. We use St.Margaret’s as a base for Talitha, where we conduct our training, workshops and meetings. It is a fantastic resource and an incredible creative space, which we find ourselves at, weekly. The garden is located in the Gallery Cafe garden, which is a free communal space in the centre of St.Margaret’s House, where both the Talitha Arts and St.Margaret’s House community now use for outdoor activities, workshops, events and performances as well as for daily enjoyment for meetings and gatherings alike.

Photo by Britt Willoughby Dyer

The Talitha Arts Garden has now been in its new home for just over 3 months and we have already made great use of the unique benefits such an inspiring space offers! In collaboration with St.Margaret’s House, we had The Discover Festival - an arts and well-being festival on the Talitha Arts Garden to mark its relocation and the partnership between St.Margaret’s House and Talitha Arts. The Discover Festival week was comprised of free workshops, events and performances to celebrate the power of the arts for mental health and well-being support. A variety of activities took place on the garden from yoga to summer solace, poetry and music. Many of the events were designed to be offered free of charge to the local community so they may come along and enjoy the garden and be amongst nature, in the heart of bustling East London.

Arts ran a ‘Talitha Takeover Day’ on the Tuesday of the Discover Festival, where we delivered ‘Wellness Through Creativity’ workshops open to the public. These took place on the Talitha Arts Garden, with its transformative message, beauty and tranquility informing the work. The main event and bridge-out reflection sections took place within a safe and contained space indoors, before returning on to the garden for the grounding and close. It was immensely powerful using the Talitha Arts Garden to both inform the content of the sessions and as the location for the workshops; being surrounded by plants, trees and the white porcelain butterflies, which tell the story of transformation, was a therapeutic itself. Being outside in the fresh air and amongst the garden gave an added element of calmness and connection to nature which helped the group find mindfulness and present-ness in the workshop.

We created a nature-based Mandela, a tried and tested Talitha arts activity, and having the participants being able to express themselves and explore and choose objects from nature, gave the session a whole new depth. Similarly, the breathwork benefited from being outside and changed the dynamics of the experience being in nature. The sound of the wind through the trees and breeze felt very grounding and gave a sense of space and being part of something bigger. The main activity saw us creating butterflies with elements from nature that were inspired by what butterflies meant to the participants. One lady who attended the session shared with us:

“Beautiful session - I really felt free to connect to myself on a deeper level here; very moving experience…Thank you for your openness and sensitivity. ”

Another shared:

“Wonderful and inspiring. Quietness in a big city.”

Having an outdoor space to conduct our sessions and be amongst nature with our participants is a fantastic opportunity for Talitha Arts and our beneficiaries. We are really looking forward to all the future work that can take place in this uplifting and tranquil space.

Community Day was the final day of Discover Festival, and along with St.Margaret’s House, we had many activities and events underway for the local community, families and individuals to come along to enjoy together.

Talitha ran an exhibition showcasing the work of the charity with various Talitha activities to do, for example, resources, quotes and pieces from participants of our therapeutic arts workshops. It was a great way to really give the public a sense of the work Talitha Arts do and its impact. We had many people share how touching reading some of the feedback and quotes from the beneficiaries was.

The latter part of the community day included a delicious vegan BBQ provided by the Gallery Café, as well as an evening of performances on the Talitha Arts Garden. The Garden is not only a beautiful, tranquil space in the heart of East London, but it provides a fantastic performance space, amongst the beautiful trees and planted beddings on the thrust stage, which as a recognised theatre performance device, was designed to capture the creative arts aspect of Talitha’s workshops. It was a warm and wonderful evening with a full audience enjoying the beauty of the garden, music and being together, all amongst nature celebrating the power of the arts.

Nastee Chapel "Lost & Found" Album Launch Fundraising Event

During our summer on the relocated Talitha Arts Garden, we had our first Fundraiser on the garden. (We hope the first of many!). We welcomed talented musicians Nastee Chapel to the Talitha Arts Garden, to launch their national Album tour for ‘Lost & Found’. We were also honoured to have Nastee Chapel perform on the garden during our after-hour events at Chelsea - so it felt very fitting to complete the circle by inviting them to perform at the newly rehomed garden. It was an absolutely magical event. Nastee Chapel’s music and story resonated so much with the audience. It was an incredibly moving evening, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped to make it happen. A special thank you to Natalie and Steve of Nastee Chapel, who donated 50% of the proceeds from the evening to Talitha Arts, and to St. Margaret’s House being fabulous hosts. It was so lovely to experience such powerful, touching music and celebrate the healing power of the arts together in our garden - we look forward to many more such events in the future!

Over the summer Talitha Arts ran our training programme and had countless meetings and a number of workshops at St. Margaret’s House. It has been a pleasure to take our trainees, trustees and workshop participants around the garden to celebrate the message and design of the Talitha Arts Garden and what it holds in store for Talitha Arts.

The Talitha Arts Garden has transformed a humble patch of grass into a beautiful garden with places to enjoy a meal or coffee, space for intimate poetry readings, live music, or our therapeutic arts outdoor workshops and programmes. It has strengthened our partnership with St. Margaret’s House and provided a unique plot which can provide solace or be enjoyed by the local community - as one Talitha Arts workshop participant said, the garden provides "Quietness in a big city".

There is still time to book a tour of the Talitha Arts Garden this year, to hear about the Chelsea Flower Show journey and Talitha Art's unique story of the garden.

The legacy of the garden is only just beginning - watch this space for all we have planned for 2024 on the garden and beyond!

Love & Light,

The Talitha Team

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