Well Festival of Arts & Wellbeing

Fancy a lift?, Doodling for Wellbeing and Small Acts are some of the highlights of this year’s Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing.  Taking place in Waterford on the festival’s new dates, Monday 7 to Saturday 12 February, Well features an inspirational line-up of fun, free, inventive and sociable arts events for all ages.  In this, its ninth year, the festival presents musicians, artists, poets, storytellers, filmmakers and dancers, as well as a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences.  The full festival programme is available here and from www.wellwaterford.com 

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing champions and celebrates all the ways that the arts help us to feel good.  Due to the ongoing pandemic and in line with public health guidelines, many events will again take place online, giving this Waterford-wide festival the opportunity to reach beyond the county borders and welcome arts fans from near and far.  Each day, festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness colourful, beautiful, thought-provoking music, art, movement and literature, and to experience the joy of creativity through a range of workshops and interactive opportunities for all ages.

Festival 2022 Highlights
Highlights of the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2022 programme include:
Fancy a lift?, a daily poetry postcard, curated by Waterford writer Joanne McCarthy, delivered virtually online and on meal trays to patients at University Hospital Waterford (UHW);
Doodling for Wellbeing, an online tutorial to demonstrate the ease and benefits of doodling, by illustrator Sarah Bowie;
Small Acts, a special Garter Lane/Well Festival Artist Residency, which sees movement artist Rachel Ní Bhraonáin working with the Waterford New Community Women’s Shed;
Why Arts?
, the Well Festival Keynote conversation, featuring geriatrician, art collector and champion of arts in healthcare Dr Paul Finucane with writer Gemma Tipton;
– a myriad of workshops (online and in person) including Get Creative with Natural Materials with Sean Corcoran, Spring has Sprung Pots with Aoife Murphy and Open Gallery at Home with Caroline Schofield and Jill Bouchier.
– For Waterford based artists, arts workers and/or anyone interested in getting involved in the arts in Waterford, there’s a special Creative Communities online event, presented by the Well Festival in partnership with Creative Waterford;
– For artists interested in working with older people, there’s a unique continuous professional development opportunity with Caroline Schofield who will share her experience of delivering Art at the Kitchen Table throughout County Waterford;
– Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s Healing Sounds musicians will deliver a daily Musical Postcard online, while…
– the A Better Place exhibition, featuring the work of artist Donna McGee, continues at UHW;
– Storyteller Joe Brennan presents The Curing Walk, a story inspired by artist residency at the hospital;
– and the much loved festival flagship event We haven’t had an earthquake lately, supported by The Book Centre Waterford, returns, to be led once again by the inimitable Catherine Drea.
– For younger audiences, the Wellies programme invites children and young people to finesse their doodling skills, create a Poet’s Tree and witness the creation of a new inspiring work of art outdoors at UHW by Curtis Hylton of The Walls Project.

Speaking at the launch of the festival programme, Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, said “We are delighted to be able to present the Well Festival while we are still navigating our ever-changing circumstances.  We continue to be reminded of how valuable the arts are for lifting our spirits and nurturing our wellbeing, which spurs us on to re-imagine how we can bring our festival, safely, to our lovely audiences.”

Breda O’Shea of Waterford City and County Libraries added “We’re really excited to move to our new festival date of February and we hope that the Well Festival’s range of events and happenings will brighten the winter days and point us towards spring, towards hope and all its colourful possibilities.”

Sile Penkert, Executive Director of Garter Lane Arts Centre, continued “The Well Festival gives us a unique opportunity to offer company and creative engagement to the community, and to offer fulfilment through creative self-expression.  We hope our audiences will find our programme inspiring and we look forward to welcoming everyone, virtually or in person, to our many events.”

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing is funded by the Arts Council, the HSE and Waterford City and County Council, with generous support from Sanofi.  The festival is presented by Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford City and County Libraries and Waterford Healing Arts Trust.  The full festival programme is available here and at www.wellwaterford.com  See the Well Festival also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.