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Fun for the whole family at Gaia

Gaia 2019 C W5 Belfast 3 Resize 3
Gaia on display in Belfast

Fun activities for children and families are planned for October half term to celebrate Gaia coming to Chelmsford.  

This touring art installation will be making its way to Essex for the first time, displayed in Chelmsford Cathedral for everyone to enjoy. Alongside this, a fantastic line-up of activities for children is planned in the cathedral’s garden sponsored by Chelmsford City Culture, with everything from scavenger hunts to arts and crafts sessions run by local artists.

What is Gaia?

Gaia is a touring installation of our planet as seen from space. It’s six metres in diameter and uses detailed NASA imagery to create a replica of the Earth’s surface. It’s been created by artist Luke Jerram and his work has travelled the globe to provoke conversations about the environment and society. 

Photo By Phil Longfoot . Gaia At Liverpool Cathedral For Liverpool City Councils River Festival 2019
Photo credit: Phil Longfoot

Family fun

Garden activities 

For £2 per child, ‘Gaia garden arts and crafts’ will be a fun and affordable way to keep the family entertained between 24-28 October. You can choose between a morning session between 10.30-12.30pm or afternoon at 1.30-3.30pm. Ten different activities in the cathedral’s garden will explore the themes of the sea, space, animals, things that grow, weather and climate change throughout the week. 

Jean Elliott, together with local artists Lynn Excell and Jennifer Flint will be running the workshops and there’ll be a chance to take part in sponge printing, still-life drawing and acorn planting, alongside craft activities such as junk modelling and mask-making. Children will also decorate umbrellas with their thoughts about climate change and the weather, as well as a brilliant scavenger hunt.  

These sessions are open to children of all ages and adults must be on-hand to supervise their children throughout. Tickets will only need to be purchased for under- 16s and accompanying adults will not need a ticket. Bookings can be made on Eventbrite. 

"After visitors have enjoyed the wonders of Gaia, we would love for families to join us in the garden to think about the world we live in through creative arts and crafts. This is a great way for children to learn about the environment while having fun at the same time. We can’t wait for the excitement to begin."

Jean, Children and Families Minister at Chelmsford Cathedral and organiser of the garden activities
Gaia 2019 C W5 Belfast 4 RESIZE 1

Family Science Day with ARU 

On Saturday 15 October, the Global Sustainability Institute team at Anglia Ruskin University will bring a day of science and fun to Chelmsford Cathedral in celebration of Gaia.  

Activities will be free for everyone and include a blue marble hunt, interactive virtual reality experience and a range of family-friendly sessions based on science and sustainability. The event is free to attend but you’ll need to book your spot in advance.  

The family day is part of the wider Chelmsford Science Festival which is taking place on the university’s campus from 11-18 October. Events throughout the festival will include free public lectures, workshops, exhibitions, drop-in sessions, and hands-on activities. Visit the Chelmsford Science Festival webpage for more details.  

Gaia special events 

Earth Sounds: World Music Concert

Exciting events at Chelmsford Cathedral are planned throughout Gaia’s stay in the city from 12 to 30 October.  

On Friday 21 October at 7.30pm, Chelmsford Cathedral Choir will come together for a one-off immersive concert, exploring different musical traditions.  

The illuminated artwork of the Earth will spin slowly in the nave of the cathedral while the choir performs timeless anthems from around the world. Local musician and poet, Shephali Frost, will also perform with songs of poetry, accompanied by musicians. The building will be lit up for the occasion to create an atmospheric experience for visitors.  

Tickets are £20 per person including a drink on arrival and viewing time for Gaia after the concert. Book your tickets on Eventbrite.  

Lunchtime concerts under Gaia 

The cathedral holds a programme of lunchtime concerts every Friday for its visitors and during October there will be a special programme of performances under Gaia from Forest School Big Band, a Jazz Trio and pianist Tim Smith. Book your place on the Chelmsford Cathedral website

Plan your visit 

You’ll be able to visit Gaia throughout the day from 12-30 October from 10-4pm on most weekdays and Saturdays, with shorter visiting hours on Sundays. Day visits to Gaia are free of charge and it’s recommended you book your preferred entry time in advance.  

You can also visit Gaia in the evening when the installation will be beautifully lit and a specially commissioned soundtrack will be played. Visiting times will start from 6.15pm on most days until 10pm, with last entry at 9.30pm. Tickets cost £4 per adult and £2 per child and can be booked now via the Cathedral website

Chelmsford Cathedral (1)
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Charlotte Maltby
Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes about the environment, parks, recycling, business, planning, public realm and democratic services.