First Art

Building relationships across communities in Ashfield, Bolsover, Mansfield, and North East Derbyshire to make inspiring cultural things happen.

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First Art is about making good things happen through the arts

Through a diverse arts programme, First Art works to bring inspirational cultural experiences within reach of everyone living in Ashfield, Bolsover, Mansfield and North East Derbyshire, as well as helping local people to produce and shape their own cultural experiences and events.  

The programme ranges from putting on outdoor arts festivals to supporting family art events in communities.  

First Art is a CPP (Creative People and Places) project, part of the national programme funded by Arts Council England, working in areas where arts engagement is significantly below the national average.  

A registered charity, First Art works in partnership with a consortium made up of Creswell Heritage Trust, Junction Arts, Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service (BCVS), and Active Partners Trust who together drive the First Art programme. 


First Art Highlights

Why we joined Without Walls

Without Walls TNP provides First Art with the opportunity to bring world-class artists and performances to communities that would otherwise not be able to access such things. The diverse catalogue of acts available through the TNP allows more creative and exciting programme that offers unique and inspirational experiences, experiences that are real eye-openers to the possibilities arts and culture provide and in non-typical venues. First Art is proud to be part of Without Walls, championing a wide range of artists and experiences.  

The First Art team

First Art are a small core team who work with partners and communities to develop the events we put on. Karl Greenwood, Director, leads the Artistic programme development together with Project Manager, Vanessa Oxspring, and Marketing and Audience Development Manager, Kate Learmouth. In April new team member, Anna McGrath, joined as an Event Assistant Producer.

This position is supported by Without Walls. For The Full Shebang, where First Art have worked most extensively with Without Walls, as well as using the team’s knowledge and experiences we are in the process of consulting with Mansfield’s business community so that they can feed into the programme for this year’s festival, together with other partners.

Events at First Art

The Full Shebang is a free one-day family arts festival in Mansfield Town Centre. Established in 2019, the festival is fast becoming a key fixture for the local community and typically attracts some 10,000 visitors. The event showcases world-class outdoor performances, street theatre, interactive entertainment, music, dance, and workshops 

Audiences at First Art

The audiences First Art are targeting are those that have low engagement with the arts. By creating events that bring world-class acts like those that are part of Without Walls, the team are able to show just what’s out there. This helps to inspire those low engagers to give more of the arts a try, seeing that there is more to the arts than they may have first thought. It also means audiences in the communities within which First Art work, a number of which are quite rural, see acts they wouldn’t otherwise see in their local area.