Bloom! goes virtual with new online community project

Following the recent announcement that the city-wide Bloom! 2020 festival which was planned for June, had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak – festival organisers Make It York are calling on residents to take part in a virtual Bloom! project run by local artist Louise Rowley.

The project encourages people to capture the beauty of nature during their daily exercise, in their garden spaces or online – and create their own ‘works of art’ which will be shared on the virtual ‘Room to Bloom’ exhibition page as a tribute to all key workers. The aim is to come together as a community to create a virtual ‘bunch of flowers’ as a way to say thank you to all key workers.

From pictures of your favourite flowers and photos of your garden to poems about what you see on your daily walk – a variety of art forms will be included. Children and adults across the city are encouraged to get creative and share their nature-inspired drawings, photos, collages and paintings. Entries can be submitted by email to or via social media using #RoomtoBloom2020.

‘Room to Bloom’, which was founded in 2018 as part of the original Bloom! festival was set up by local artist Louise Rowley, who was inspired to raise awareness of mental health issues after a close friend took their own life.

Louise Rowley said: “My aim with relaunching the project with this new virtual format is to keep us safe, positive and creative during this new and challenging time as the Coronavirus forces us into a new way of life. Although temporary; it is these hours, days, weeks in isolation where it is as important to keep a positive outlook and to remain part of our community. I also really wanted the project to be a way for us to pay tribute to the amazing work that key workers are doing to get us all through this time and create a huge ‘bunch of flowers’ to say thank you.

“We would love for anyone and everyone to take part in this project and be part of our creative online community. As with our 2018 project, maintaining positive mental health and raising awareness of mental health difficulties is very much our aim. We all have room to bloom.”

Dominic Berry, Bloom! Festival Manager at Make It York said: “We were so disappointed to have to cancel the Bloom! festival this year but we would absolutely love people to get involved with this online project which really captures the heart of what the event was about – coming to together as a community to celebrate the beauty of nature. This is a great project that adults and children of all ages can get involved with and show their creativity – and we are really looking forward to seeing all the entries.”

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