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Arts in Libraries

Cultural Hubs

St Helens Borough Council's Library Service is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation - one of only six library services in the country!

Cultural Hubs is an award-winning arts in libraries project that allows us to bring a broad range of arts events into all St Helens Borough Libraries.

Although we are unable to work in our library spaces at present, you can keep up to date with libraries and the arts across St Helens Borough in the following ways:

A photograph of the theatre performance, I Believe in Unicorns by Wizard Presents theatre company performed at Newton le Willows Library. The woman actor in the photograph is balancing on a large pile on books as if climbing onto a horse. Other stacks of books surround her. The photograph was taken by Karen Thornburn. 

Local Artists Database

We want to support creatives from St Helens Borough whenever we can - connecting local talents and endeavour with commissions and opportunities we hear of or initiate. To do this, we have a questionnaire which gathers information about local practitioners - if you'd like to be on our database please email and request a questionnaire.

This is a link to the St Helens Borough Creatives Questionnaire.

This is a link to the Privacy Policy around how we store and use the data gathered through the questionnaire.

Artist Commissions - 2020/21 - Now Closed & Awarded

The Arts in Libraries team are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020/21 artist commissions, to whom we have offered funded opportunities to support developing artists with links to the borough.  

The 9 successful projects come from: It Is What It Is Productions crew, The Year of The Rat performance collective, Sarah Gilman, Kevin Crooks, Grace Collins, Fiona Stirling, Ian Brownbill, Emmer Winder and a performance troupe consisting of Ian Greenall, Andrew Dickinson, Jason Anders, Michaela Anders and Ian Ryan.

We are proud to support creativity in St Helens for people who live, study or play here to develop their practice through a funded opportunity. The commissions will enable these artists, with support from the team and a fee attached, to make work which will be shared in the libraries across the borough.

To ensure that the opportunity for developing practice and sharing culture is open to all, we aim to ensure that the application process has as few barriers to entry as possible. Email Owen Hutchings at owenhutchings@sthelens.gov.uk, or phone on 07766 505684 if you want to feedback on alternative ways to apply.

Creative Alternatives - Arts Programme for Adults       

Interested in exploring creativity for your wellbeing? Want some time that’s just about you? Then Creative Alternatives may just be what you’re looking for.

Creative Alternatives is an award-winning arts and wellbeing programme for people living in St Helens experiencing stress, anxiety or depression. Creative Alternatives offers a regular programme of visual arts and creative writing activities that can help to rebuild your confidence and improve your mental wellbeing. 

Once referred on to the Creative Alternatives programme, you can take part in a weekly group for up to 12 weeks. Workshops are led by trained artists who will support and guide you through a creative process using a variety of artistic techniques.

The Creative Alternatives Team are currently working on new ways that this service can still be offered without the need for the group to physically meet (due to the Public Health Guidelines around the Corona Virus) so do get in touch if you are interested.

You can take part in Creative Alternatives if you are:

  • Aged 18+
  • Living or accessing healthcare in St Helens
  • Experiencing mild to moderate stress, depression and/or anxiety
  • Keen to improve your wellbeing and feel able can make a regular commitment to a weekly group
  • Prepared to attend the workshops independently and work within a group setting.

Activities include a combination of creative writing, drawing, painting, 3D modelling and textiles.

For more information, please call Helen Holden, project co-ordinator, on 07745 590698, or email helen@creativealternatives.org.uk.

Arts Award

As part of our Cultural Hubs programme, St Helens Borough Libraries support young people in undertaking the nationally recognised arts award. Arts Award is a range of unique qualifications that support young people under 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders, inspiring them to take part in the wider arts world by taking challenges in any arts or media activity. Trained Arts Award advisers based across St Helens' network of libraries guide and support young people in gaining arts experiences towards their nationally recognised awards.

If you are interested in taking part in the award, please contact JaneERimmer@sthelens.gov.uk for more information and to sign up!