On the 14th and 15th May the Art in the Park Festival 2022 took over Campbell Park, Milton Keynes for a community event which brought together thousands of people – families and individuals not only from MK, but from across Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties too. The festival made a welcome return in 2022, after two years when it wasn’t possible to host a large-scale event like this, due to Covid. The theme was ‘Venturing Out’ and the festival was bigger and better than ever before!
MKIAC Milton Keynes Islamic Art and Culture, who hosted the festival, were also celebrating their 20th anniversary and the festival included speeches and presentations to mark the organisation’s work and the enormous contributions of various MKIAC team members and partners. The charity’s Patron, The Countess Howe and the founder, Anouar Kassim MBE were amongst the speakers on the Saturday afternoon.
The Clare Foundation’s Head of Charity Operations, Helen Mee, was delighted to accept an invitation from MKIAC’s Founder, Anouar, to attend the event, including the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire’s Afternoon Tea. The food and drink served were a delicious fusion of British and Islamic influences – including scones with jam and samosas, prepared by the catering team from MK College. Helen commented “it was an honour to be invited and to share in the charity’s 20th anniversary celebrations. It was humbling to hear the work that has been done, in bringing the community together and celebrating diversity. The Art in the Park Festival is a key cultural event in the Buck’s calendar and it was great to see it back in Campbell Park after a two-year hiatus.”
The weekend comprised live music, world food, a funfair, craft workshops, stalls from local community organisations, an art exhibition and the popular Carnival of Colours Parade. Led by London based carnival company Kinetika Bloco and Milton Keynes based outdoor arts company Festive Road, the carnival of colours proved to be an immersive experience of colour and sound. There were community groups, young people, schools and performers taking part and they briefly brought Midsummer Boulevard to a standstill with music, costumes and dance!
Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture is a registered charity, which was created in direct response to the 9/11 attacks, to promote shared learning, community cohesion and cultural understanding. Inspired by Islamic arts, heritage and culture, encompassing both traditional and contemporary art forms, MKIAC provides a broad spectrum of inclusive arts-based events throughout the year. Their primary focus is using the arts as a vehicle to overcome societal divisions and provide a sense of community in the city of Milton Keynes and across Buckinghamshire. You can find out more about the charity here: http://www.mkiac.org/