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Bench bridges social distancing by creating a space for new ways of interaction

This blog has been written up by Annemarijn Huizinga (pictured below) whilst on her placement with us.

Virtually launched by Community Development Officer Sam Green on May 11, Bench is Creative Stirling’s first post-lockdown exhibition that invites talent of all ages to contribute an artistic piece. Whether you like to colour inside the lines or break down those walls, everyone is welcome to take a seat on the bench.

Having started our transition back to using indoor spaces as a community, this exhibition encourages visitors to use the open space for relaxing, reflection, and re-orientation in our social world as a whole.

People of all ages get to channel their creative energy through an artistic journey. Start off by taking a look around at the pieces that are already there; displayed on the wall as a central piece of the decor. What inspires you? What kind of feelings do you associate with each work of art? Once you move towards the work table how do you channel this inspiration through the materials provided? Or will you venture even further to collect materials outside the provided space?

The overarching theme of the exhibition is reconnection. The gallery encourages us to reflect on how we can reconnect with our loved ones after being distanced for so long. It fosters feelings of positivity, and an optimism for what is yet to come: one step of progress at a time.

Beyond a personal reflection, Bench also introduces themes of connection into a more practical sphere. Each piece of art that is contributed by visitors is put in the box, to later be captured by our creative team and shared online. Each individual work of art belongs to a bigger picture, and through art, connects each individual to a larger collective being.

But don’t forget not to take everything too seriously and explore the fun that this gallery provides. Surrounded by big paper palm trees, lounge chairs, and fairy lights that connect one mural piece to another: take a step back and relax to find that connection with yourself. After spending so much time isolated during lockdown, Bench is the perfect space to transition between a contentment with one’s self and a connection with others.

Whether it is a physical connection on the wooden bench, sharing your time and space with a friend, an artistic connection at the workbench, or a more emotive connection towards Bench as a whole: this exhibition showcases how creativity will always have a space in our world – no matter what it throws at us.