Blog: Sarah Bird

The co-director of Wild Rumpus writes about a new kind of outdoor arts event in conjunction with the Forestry Commission this spring

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Art on the Run is, I’m happy to admit, another opportunity for us here at Wild Rumpus, the family arts organisation, to indulge our personal passions. Every morning this year I’ve dragged myself out of bed at 6am to head off for a run, and no matter how dark and dreary it is, it’s been worth it. I took up running at the same time as starting the Just So Festival eight years ago, with fellow director Rowan Hoban (pictured right), and we hatched many of our plans for what finally became Wild Rumpus while on long training sessions leading up to the Paris Marathon. We still have the medals to prove we finished.

Running was instrumental to that first foray into event planning, it gave us a perspective on our work that we couldn’t possibly have got while sitting at desks or around a table. It seems fitting then, that eight years later and with many successful award-winning events under our belts we’ve concocted an event that very literally celebrates some of the things we love most: being in the woods, outside immersed in nature, running and engaging in the arts together.

I am lucky enough to work for an organisation which spends most of its time surrounded by nature. Wild Rumpus works from four acres of woodland, in Cheshire, in a collection of charming vintage vehicles and buildings including a converted horsebox, roundhouse, shepherd’s hut and treehouse – it’s as idyllic as it sounds (apart from in the depths of winter, admittedly).

We talk a lot amongst the team about the seasons, about the woods, nature and the landscape and reflect on how we think this makes us happier, healthier, and more creative as an organisation and as individuals. This is where we plan our events which take families out of their day-to-day lives and on artistic adventures of the imagination.

Art on the Run will be a new way to experience art, whilst the blood is pumping, our minds are working faster, they’re more receptive to new experiences. Taking place at Drinkwater Park (soon to be rebranded as the City Forest Park) between Manchester and Bury on the banks of the Irwell, it will be a 5k run for families through a beautiful landscape in which we’ll embed some surprising installations, prompting people to look twice, to be curious and inspired as they follow the course.

On a morning as I run, I often think about our ethos as an organisation – that the arts have the power to change the way we see the world around us, to inspire us, to bring joy and give meaning to our lives. We hope that Art on The Run can offer a new and exciting way for families in particular to engage in the arts and see their lives transformed.

Art On The Run will take place at 11am on Sunday 21 May at LIVIA Forest, near Prestwich, Manchester. A limited amount of places are available to book now £20 adults, £10, children

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