De Ark Antwerpen wins local Culture Prize!

“Proud, surprised, moved, but most of all just very pleased” is how Johan Roose, joint National leader of Dutch speaking Belgium and Holland describes the feelings of De Ark Antwerpen community, in Belgium, which received the Boechout Culture Prize for 2016.

The community wanted to raise the profile of L'Arche locally, and so decided to create an “Animal-Walk” around the town. Right through 2016, out of their workshop poured all sorts of animals, made of all sorts of materials: potters, knitters, woodworkers, painters and others all worked together, pooling their diverse creative talents. 

Neighbours quickly caught their enthusiasm, and it didn’t take long for the crafted animals to appear in the shop-windows and gardens of the town. “It became a huge animal kingdom,” says Johan. “With their help, we created a very pretty walk through the town. People could do this walk during one month. Our main goal was for the people of Boechout to get to know us better, and of course that we get to know them in return. So by doing our walk, they became aware of the fact that there’s a workshop at De Ark Antwerpen in the town. We hoped that the enthusiasm with which we created the animals, made the visitors warm, happy or surprised! The different materials with which we worked, produced beautiful results. A lot of the materials were recycled. Visitors could find really unique pieces of art throughout the exhibition. It was a great success and we would recommend everybody to organize something like this. It was a fantastic experience for us and it gave us a warm feeling to see how people from the village were supporting us. There was a great turn out and we got so many wonderful reactions. A fun way to show our talents! And getting the Culture Prize is like ‘the icing on the cake’.”