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Grimsby-based arts organisation The Culture House is launching a seasonal campaign which it says it hopes will rival John Lewis’.

Share Your Bear is a community togetherness campaign that is the brainchild of Grimsby artist and illustrator Sarah Palmer.

North East Lincolnshire residents no matter what their age are invited to share any pictures of their childhood teddy bear along with any personal memories or stories of what their bear means to them, using the hashtag #ShareYourBearGRIMSBY on social media.

Everyone is also encouraged to draw a picture of their bear, or create a new one, name it and place it in their window, in order to give passers-by a ‘hug’. The best bear pictures could be featured on the side of a North East Lincolnshire Council bin wagon too.

Sarah herself will start off the #ShareYourBearGRIMSBY campaign, with an installation in the window of 4 Wellowgate, featuring illustrations of her eight year-old son’s bear, BooBoo.

These will be complemented with a beautiful ‘Christmas window’ featuring bears in a seasonal scene and can be seen from Wednesday 3 December.

Sarah proposed to Share Your Bear in response to a recent call out from The Culture House, asking local artists to propose artwork on the theme of “Something to Cheer us Up”, with the aim of positively impacting on local people at this time.

Charlotte Bowen, Culture House director, said, “a local selection panel saw in Sarah’s idea a wonderful opportunity for local people to connect and support each other.

“At a time when we have to hold ourselves back from a hugging those we love, sharing our bears can represent a way of sending love to the people and world around us and indeed especially those facing loneliness and isolation.

Charlotte continued: “As we face at the prospect of a different kind of Christmas and with a lot of people having recently reflected about what’s most important to them, we wanted to focus on this time being about showing love and care for one-another, especially during these difficult times.

“As the rainbows gave us hope, our bears can give us hugs.”

Sarah explained more about what was behind her artistic idea:

“Bears often take us back to our child-hoods, offering us a feeling of safety, unconditional love and something to love. Teddy bears bring a smile to the face and I think that sharing the stories of some of the ‘teddy bears of Grimsby’ will cheer up and brighten winter days”.

Sarah continued: “Also, like us, bears are loved no matter what by someone and this is unconditional no matter how ‘tatty’ they get.”

As part of #ShareYourBearGRIMSBY,  Sarah’s illustrations and her Christmas bear installation can be seen in the windows of 4 Wellowgate through until 31 December.

To get involved:

  • Start sharing your bear and any personal stories of your bear using #ShareYourBearGRIMSBY also tagging @theculturehousegy
  • You can also join the Facebook group Share Your Bear GRIMSBY to post pictures of your bear and share memories / stories
  • Take inspiration from Sarah’s illustrations in the window at 4 Wellowgate and go along and see her bear scene
  • Get creative by placing drawn or painted pictures of your bear in your window. Name your bear! You could even place your actual bear in the window if possible.
  • If you’d like to, download a bear template drawn by Sarah from www.theculturehouse.co.uk/share-your-bear-grimsby to colour in and name

The Culture House’s The Something to Cheer Us Up project runs until March 2021 and has commissioned four local artists to create cheery work for the community. Other artists selected include James Alexander Hall, Penny Wood and Hollie Fuller with details of their work to be announced soon.

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