On Saturday 21 October, Kew Baptist Church ran the inaugural Highbury Common Creative Festival, featuring a makers’ market, art exhibition and live music performances, as well as barista coffee, food stalls and kids’ activities available throughout the day.
This event was initially born out of a desire to celebrate the incredible range of creativity within our community. After all, our God is a creative God! We are made in His image and when we use our creativity, we are reflecting His character. So this event would be a chance for us to celebrate creativity; to celebrate the creative gifts that God has blessed His people with, and to celebrate and support our local artists, makers and creatives.
We also hoped that this event would be a great opportunity to engage and connect with the local Kew community; as the BUV Innovate slogan says, to reach people that we’ve never reached before, we needed to do something that we’d never done before! And so we began to plan our Creative Festival in the hopes that such an event would be a fruitful opportunity to “let our light shine” in Kew (Mt 5:14-16).
As it happened, the Festival was a wonderful celebration of both creativity and community, with around 30 artists and creatives showcasing their works, and a couple of hundred people attending the Festival across the day – a fantastic turn-out and engagement from the local community! We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback from stall-holders and attendees; a lot of great conversations were had and connections made. The comment we kept hearing throughout the day was: “There is something different about the people here!” Through our welcome and hospitality, the love of God was truly shining through this event. Many people were asking when the next Festival would be, and it has also sparked increased interest and enquiries about the Highbury Common Project, Tea & Tots, and general facility hire. And so the community connections continue!
We were grateful to receive a Community Engagement Grant from the BUV for the Highbury Common Project – part of which was allocated to the Creative Festival, significantly helping in making the event such a success. And we are so thankful to God for how He allowed this event to come together, and for the many seeds that have been sown in growing our local community connections. We have decided to make this a biannual event, with the aim of running two Creative Festivals in 2018 (one in Autumn and one in Spring). Stay tuned!