Image shown: Well Festival of Arts & Wellbeing 2020.

The annual Well Festival of Arts & Wellbeing in Waterford will be happening in person and online this year, with events for the public and healthcare communities. Taking place from 5-10 October, the festival features an exciting line-up of almost 50 fun, free, inventive and sociable arts events for all ages.

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing champions and celebrates the health benefits of participation in the arts by everyone. Due to the evolving Covid-19 situation, many events this year will take place online, giving this Waterford-wide festival the opportunity to reach beyond the county borders for the first time and welcome arts fans from near and far.

Each day, festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness and experience colourful, beautiful, thought-provoking music, art, poetry, film, movement and literature, and to experience the joy of creativity through a myriad of workshops and interactive opportunities for all ages.

In this, its eighth year, the festival presents musicians, artists, poets, theatre makers, filmmakers and dancers, a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences and Renew, a new programme strand for older audiences.

Programme Highlights 

Well Festival Keynote: Why Arts? In conversation with Dr Gabriel Scally
Date: 5 October
Time: 7-8pm
Location: online event

Dr Gabriel Scally will offer his perspective on the importance of the arts in these challenging times of Covid-19.

A native of Belfast, Dr Gabriel Scally is currently visiting Professor of Public Health at the University of Bristol, and President of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr Scally is also a member of the Independent SAGE, a group of scientists in the UK dedicated to providing open and independent advice on navigating Covid-19. Earlier this year, Dr Scally served on an Advisory Group set up by the Arts Council to identify ways for the arts sector to deal with the pandemic.

Dr Scally will be in conversation with Jennifer O’Connell, staff features writer and opinion columnist with The Irish Times, and a reflection will be offered by Anne Woodworth. Anne is a professional singer, choral director, music educator, Chair of the Symphony Club of Waterford and Chair of Waterford Healing Arts Trust. Admission is free but registration is essential. See link in title.

Renew: Arts for Older People
Dates: 5 – 10 October

For Well 2020, Waterford Healing Arts Trust is introducing Renew, a new multi-arts strand to support older people, to bring joy and creativity and to impact positively on participants’ physical and mental wellbeing in this challenging year. Drawing on the experience and talent among WHAT’s team of artists and beyond, Renew offers opportunities for older people to experience and participate in music, visual art, creative writing, movement and poetry, and will take place in healthcare settings, in Garter Lane Arts Centre and in people’s homes. Renew is funded by Creative Ireland under their Creativity in Older Age programme.

Art of the People
Dates: 5 – 31 October
Location: Central Library

A unique and timely installation, viewed through the windows of Central Library, Art of the People is Waterford City and County Libraries’ response to the Covid-19 disruption of the arts and artists. Featuring a diversity of artforms, including visual art, music and drama, this celebration of work created by Waterford people is curated by arts producer and Spraoi Director TV Honan.

Dates: 30 Sept – 13 Oct
Location: GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art Waterford)

Created by participants of the Waterford Healing Arts Trust weekly Open Studio workshop, this exhibition showcases a diverse range of individual styles and techniques, and celebrates the participants reconnecting after time apart. Also featured are artworks by service users of the Activation Therapy Unit, St Otteran’s Hospital, Waterford. Both workshops are facilitated by artist Jill Bouchier.

Check out the full festival programme:

Watch the festival trailer here.

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing is funded by the Arts Council, the HSE and Waterford City and County Council, with additional funding for the Renew programme strand from Creative Ireland, and generous support from Sanofi. The festival is presented by Waterford Healing Arts Trust, Garter Lane Arts Centre and Waterford City and County Libraries. 


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