It Gets Lighter From Here

Written by WMCRU
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1st December 2020


It Gets Lighter From Here

Hundreds of 60 second digital commissions, providing moments of happiness and hope, to be released throughout the day on Monday 21 December.

The West Midlands Culture Response Unit (WMCRU) is delighted to announce its next collaborative, cultural experience as it launches It Gets Lighter From Here; a virtual day of hope and positivity, showcasing a collection of 60 second digital commissions from organisations across the region. To date, It Gets Lighter From Here has raised a total of £34,050 for commissions, providing vital financial support for the region’s freelancers and community members who have been left unsupported through the Covid-19 pandemic, with a lack of job security and stable, regular income.

The event, curated to mark the Winter Solstice on 21st December, was born out of a WMCRU Artistic Directors & Artistic Leads meetings – further developed by a working group of Erica Love (Culture Central), James Yarker (Stans Cafe), Karen Newman (BOM), Tyrone Huggins (Actor & Playwright) and Edmund Collier (China Plate). Deliberately marking the shortest day / longest night of the year, the purpose of It Gets Lighter From Here is to provide moments of happiness and hope during what has been an incredibly challenging and unprecedented time for the industry – before it does, quite literally, start to get lighter.

Actor and Playwright Tyrone Huggins said: “When Covid-19 landed its closure on venues in March this year the arts community in the West Midlands came together to support each other and find ways of supporting our audiences. We came up with a unique idea of charting moments through this pandemic with a series of online festivals where organisations, producers and freelance artists could share their work. We began with a Midsummer Festival in June followed by a Ritual Festival at the end of August. We joined in celebrating 100 years of the CBSO and followed that by a festival of Democratising Creativity and Culture in September. Each event has been different.

#ItGetsLighterFromHere will be dozens of one minute films across social media sparkling up the day with content of hope and potential. There is much uncertainty to the immediate future and nobody can say what state things may be in on Monday 21st December, but what we will be able to say at sunset on that shortest day of the year is “it gets lighter from here.” And there’s a kind of magic in that thought. I’m looking forward to it. As well as Christmas.”

A view through a window, with rain splatters and colourful lights.

Artists and cultural institutions from across the West Midlands will come together to release hundreds of micro-commissions across their social channels, through the hashtag #ItGetsLighterFromHere. Involving a huge cross-section of artists and art-forms, substantial audiences and networks will be reached across the region and beyond, creating a wide celebration of hope, optimism and possibility for the future.

Erica Love from Culture Central said: “We know the arts has the power to create joy and happiness, a sense of connection and hope for the future. With this unique region wide work and increasing the impact by coming together, we are not only providing joy for our audiences, but another way for artists and organisations to do and share what they love.”

James Yarker from Stans Cafe said: “The #ItGetsLighterFromHere one-minute rule will prove a great creative challenge for artists young and old. I can’t wait to see all the inventive solutions they come up with. Audiences will find these snack size art works ‘more-ish’. There will be all sorts of flavours and we can enjoy getting a taste of everything, even those art forms we’ve never experienced before or think we don’t like. It will be fort trying everything out because ’something else will be along in a minute’ – literally!

There is no ‘official programme’ for #ItGetsLighterFromHere, so no one is saying what you can and can’t watch. Experienced and new artists are all in the mix together. It’s an evening for making new discoveries and because it’s all on social media you can share the things you like with all your family, friends and followers. On the shortest day of the year #ItGetsLighterFromHere will share the brightest West Midlands artistic talent with the world.”

There has already been a fantastic response from across the region with 37 organisations, from a huge cross-section of artists and artforms, having agreed to provide 179 commissions in total, including commitments from including Birmingham Royal Ballet, Pentabus, Warwick Arts Centre, Royal Shakespeare Company, China Plate, Town Hall Symphony Hall and University of Worcester. Following a de-centralised structure, each organisation agrees to fund, manage and curate their programme of work in response to the theme, providing paid commissions for freelance artists or community members within the region.

Edmund Collier from China Plate said: “With so much disruption to our lives and to all sorts of live performance this year, cultural organisations from across the region have come together to create moments of lightness on the darkest day of the year. From dance to spoken work, music to signed performances, there will be something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you back in person at live events in 2021. In the meantime, we all wish you health and happiness for the festive season.”

It Gets Lighter From Here will feature a ‘thunderclap’ moment at sunset (around 3.55pm) as all commissioning partners and artists will post content simultaneously, marking the darkest moment of 2020.

More information, please visit Culture Central’s website.

Image © Culture Central