In 2015 Annie founded Mytholmroyd Arts in her home village of Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, bringing together a small group of people with big ambitions. The aims of Mytholmroyd Arts are to encourage local involvement in arts and cultural activities, and to facilitate access to high-quality arts and cultural events in Mytholmroyd and in our surrounding areas.
During its first event, a 10-day Arts Festival, over 4000 people attended activities which included the Mytholmroyd Open Art Exhibition, a heritage exhibition - 'A Short History of Mytholmroyd Shops', the Mytholmroyd Residency exhibition, featuring work by Lucy Harvey, Lucy Atherton and performance artists Pink and Gray, a School Art Exhibition with three local schools, as well as music, theatre, poetry, presentations and over 20 arts workshops for different groups. We worked in partnership with organisations such as Manchester's Castlefield Gallery, East Street Arts in Leeds, the Elmet Trust, Pennine Horizons, and local community groups. The Festival was supported by the Arts Council England, Calderdale Council, Hebdenroyd Town Council, Thompson Reuters, and Royd Regeneration as well as many local businesses and individuals.
Following the flood of Boxing Day 2015 which devastated the village, Mytholmroyd Arts organised a shorter and largely outdoor Festival in 2016 which allowed the community to celebrate together, despite the loss of many community venues and facilities. We also commissioned 'Calder', a film about the Boxing Day flood, by Geoff Brokate and Paula Sutherland. In the longer term, we aim to bring the arts into the heart of local regeneration.
In 2017, Mytholmroyd Arts Festival featured the second Mytholmroyd Open Art Exhibition as well as a craft fair and street performers. We also hosted Calderdale Flood Commissions, sound sculpture 'GurgleSplosher' and films 'A Happier Valley' and 'Shout' and theatre performance 'Too much of Water' by Steve Bottoms.
As well as regular arts festivals, Mytholmroyd Arts runs events throughout the year. In 2018 we collaborated with the University of Manchester and the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing to run a photography project with older people. The exhibition of their photographs 'Clogging On' has been exhibited throughout the Valley. We also ran a poetry evening hosted by local poet Winston Plowes. For the 2018 Festival we collaborated with the Elmet Trust for a weekend of poetry and art including a solo exhibition by local artist and educator Mary Loney.
For the 2019 Festival, we ran a highly successful third Mytholmroyd Open Exhibition, as well as a series of art and print workshops for adults and children. We are currently planning our 6th Festival amidst recovering from the latest flood event.