ART, MIND & SOUL – Woodstock’s Week of Creativity

This year, as part of May’s Oxfordshire Artweeks (the UK’s largest open studio art event) a group of Artists in Woodstock will be creating a whole new experience, designed to appeal both to art lovers, but also to attract the attention of a wider audience, around the theme of mindfulness.

Art, Mind and Soul – Woodstock’s week of creativity celebrates the link between creativity and wellbeing. The artists will be creating a ‘Mindful Meander’ which encourages visitors to walk around Woodstock enjoying art in the windows of the town centre’s shop, salon and cafés, as well as encouraging visitor an exhibition in St Mary Magdalene Church. The meander will be focused on the 54321 method (five things to see, four things to touch etc.) which encourages being in the moment and the reduction of anxiety.

Major galleries, such as the National Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, and Los Angeles’ Getty Museum have mindfulness sessions and spaces, but Woodstock’s open air version is the first time a town has create an experience that links art to mindfulness, using Woodstock’s beautiful environment and its businesses’ window spaces to encourage visitors to breathe, slow down, and enjoy.

There will also be a series of events; Some held by local wellbeing practitioners, including ‘arty pilates’ (life drawing in the beautiful Woodstock Pilates studio); Others by creatives including a mindful photography walk in the grounds of Blenheim Palace (adjacent to Woodstock) by photographer and Artist in Woodstock member, Rosalind Butt.

Nina Carrington, a Woodstock creative and wellbeing expert, runs Cacao ceremonies in her Cuckoo Lane artisan studio, which involves the creation of Mandalas from natural objects. For Woodstock’s week of creativity she is planning on creating an open air ceremony in the woodlands of Blenheim Palace, where participants can create a giant Mandala.

“Creating an earth altar in nature is a wonderful practice to promote healing. When we connect to the energy of the Earth, it grounds us and helps us become more present. This can help balance ourselves on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I’m looking forward to creating a piece of art using nature, bringing a deeper connection to ourselves and one another.”


The idea, is a collaboration between Artists in Woodstock founder (amateur painter) Caroline Parkes, Sarah Cunningham (a wellbeing expert) and Hannah Cushion (an art events professional and amateur artist). Caroline Parkes, the driving force behind Artists in Woodstock, began her exhibiting journey in 2023, where she gathered a new group of artists, and got Woodstock noticed for its innovative approach to Oxfordshire Artweeks, by taking over the town’s windows to create one town wide art gallery.

“I’m always looking for ways to put Woodstock firmly on the art map, and am so excited about staging this week, where people can visit us to experience something that helps them to breathe, and also to bring new customers into our local independent businesses. We are so lucky to live next door to Blenheim Palace, and I’m hoping that the Palace’s visitors can enjoy both attractions in one day, and locals will rethink Blenheim’s open spaces as a place to practice creativity, not just go for a walk or a run.”

Caroline Parkes, Founder – Artists in Woodstock
Artists in Woodstock Logo

“When I moved to the beautiful town of Woodstock in 2023, I wanted to get involved in the community, and heard about the local art group. I’m just starting my own personal journey with art after doing a few projects during lockdown, so I wanted to get involved without displaying – for now at least! Working in the field of wellbeing science, I’ve seen ample high- end evidence to illustrate the benefits of community involvement on our own wellbeing, and that of those around us. The research also consistently points to a positive connection between wellbeing and getting creative or engaging with art. So supporting the local art group felt like the perfect way for me to give back to the town I now call home”.

Sarah Cunningham, World Wellbeing Movement

“When I moved 18 months ago from London to Woodstock I lost my creative community where I had my studio. Artists of Woodstock has enabled to be part of a thriving creative community and I’m thrilled to be joining them for this years arts week in Oxford. Working as an artist educator for museums and heritage sites I am deeply passionate about creating accessible opportunities to engage in creative, cultural and heritage sites as well as the power of these spaces to create dialogue, foster connection and positively impact our wellbeing. This year’s Artweek in Woodstock has given us the opportunity, as artists, to consider the impact of our own creative practices on our own wellbeing as well as on our visitors and audiences! It’s enabled me to utilise my own skills, gained through 16 years working for museums, to work collaboratively with other artists to consider how we can create a space where visitors can connect to our work.”

Hannah Cushion

Oxfordshire Artweeks runs from 4th May to 27th May (4th to 11th May in Woodstock) Woodstock is a beautiful Cotswolds town, adjacent to the grounds of Blenheim Palace. The main exhibition will take place in St Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock.

25 local business windows will be participating in the event.

For more information, please visit: Instagram: @artistsinwoodstock

Awards & Partners

*Supported by The Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme grant funding, secured by OxLEP Business