The Plymouth Big Arts Festival was an annual summer celebration of creativity and its power to transform the lives of young people and their communities. Coordinated every year by Barefoot, BAF offers unique opportunities for schools and colleges, community, youth and voluntary groups, Children’s Centres, cultural organisations, creative practitioners and many, many more to come together for large-scale performance, parades and arts-based workshops and activities. BAF also enables communities across the city to get involved through local 'Art of the Community' events, uniting people in their area in fun-packed 'mini festivals'.

Big Arts Festival 2012 update

We’re sorry to announce that the Big Arts Festival will have to take a rest this year due to financial restrictions, but we are making an application to Arts Council England for development funding to bring the event back - bigger and better - in 2013 and 2014.

You may remember that we announced a partnership with Plymouth University to deliver the 2012 festival linked to their 150th anniversary.  Unfortunately, despite a great deal of interest, the sums didn’t add up and after exploring a number of other options we have decided that a ‘year off’ (in BAF’s 13th year!) is the best option.

In lieu of BAF 2012, PCC’s Department for Children and Young People and Plymouth University will be coordinating the ‘Imagineering Festival’ at Plymouth Guildhall in July. Barefoot’s role will be to provide pre-event artist workshops for all the participating schools. Please see PCC’s ‘School Room’ for more information.

Big Arts Festival 2011

For the 12th consecutive year, Big Arts Festival gave thousands of Plymouth children and their parents experiences they will remember for a lifetime, as nine local Art of the Community events, and Big Arts Day and Youth Makes Music at Plymouth Pavilions brightened up what turned out to be a rather soggy July.

In all, 51 schools participated, a number made even more remarkable because of the need to charge for events and workshops that had been free in 2010. The effects of funding reductions also hit Big Arts Day, which finally got the go-ahead thanks to support from Children’s Services and Plymouth College of Art.

3044 children took an active part in the eleven events and 1270 were involved in the dozens of artist-led creative workshops that schools funded and hosted in the weeks preceding the festival.

With the British Art Show then on the horizon, we made its themes central to BAF 2011 to raise awareness amongst children, teachers and parents. The themes found their way into everything from Big Arts Day performances to artist workshops in schools , the intention being to ‘open the door’ for  people who may not have considered a visit to the exhibition.