Thousands flock to open arts festival

NDET 2-6-12 BWJ 4 Derbyshire Arts Festival. Liam Jacques proprietor of the Old Hall Gallery views the work of Caroline Appleyard.
NDET 2-6-12 BWJ 4 Derbyshire Arts Festival. Liam Jacques proprietor of the Old Hall Gallery views the work of Caroline Appleyard.

Thousands flocked to Derbyshire’s seventh open arts festival – which saw a historic venue officially reopen.

Amateur, professional and aspiring artists exhibited their work across the county, over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee holiday weekend.

The event highlighted the diverse range of talent in Derbyshire with displays and workshops ranging from ceramics making, embroidery, paintings, textiles and sculpture.

Around 20,000 visitors and residents enjoyed the creative showcase with more than 100 craftsmen and women displaying their work at venues across the county.

Natasha Astara, chairman of Derbyshire Open Arts, said: “The 2012 event has seen a growth in the number of artists who are grouping together and exhibiting in larger venues.”

Textiles designer Stephanie Harvey, who displayed her work at Holymoorside Village Hall, added: “A diverse range of work was on display from creative embroidery, screenprinting and ceramics.

“A fabulous venue with a truly wonderful view from the French windows of the fields and village.”

This year’s festival also included a new project – Open Spaces – which saw contemporary art on show at unexpected places across Derbyshire.

The ten sites showing installations included Wirksworth Eco Centre, Bakewell Parish Church, Cromford Mill and Willersley Castle.

Cromford Mill saw ten artists showcase their work, including internationally recognised, award-winning artist, Steve Messam.

Another highlight this year was the reopening of the historic Matlock Bath Grand Pavilion for the first time since it closed four years ago.

The building is set to reopen as an arts venue after a major renovation which will cost an estimated £2.6m.

Eleven artists featured at the event as well as music dance and audio-visual displays.

Grand Pavilion chairman, Gregor Macgregor said: “During the event we have seen 2,000 visitors and signed up 120 new members.

“We were the largest and most adventurous venue in this Derbyshire-wide event.”