First arts festival trail set for weekend

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Painters, sculptors and other artists have been putting the final touches to exhibitions for the first ever Belper Arts Festival Trail.

Seventy-eight artists will be displaying their works in 37 different venues dotted across the town on Sunday, May 4 and Bank Holiday Monday, May 5.

From shops to cafes, pubs, hotels, churches and community centres there will be plenty of places to explore across the town.

The event aims to be as successful as similar trails in Melbourne and Wirksworth.

Organiser, Suzanne Parnell, said: “The response has been fantastic for a first year.The idea came after myself and Kelly Nixon visited Melbourne Arts Festival. There was a really great buzz and we just thought we need one of these in Belper.

“It’s all about getting people to go out into streets and through the medium of art and the other activities taking people on a tour around Belper.

“It’s not exclusive to Belper artists - people are coming from all over - from Lincoln to Stafford and Manchester and beyond.”

Among the arts on show will be paintings, sculptures, jewellery, prints, illustrations, glasswork, photography, textiles, ceramics and more.

Artists and crafters will be present to interact with the public and sell their wares and some will be demonstrating their skills.

To navigate the trail people need to buy brochures which are available from the Cherry Orchard priced £3 which include a map of all the venues on the trail. They will also be available at the arts trail information points in The Lion Hotel and at No 28 Community Hall.

To complement the art trail there will be live music on both days at three ‘Busk Stops’ along the trail.

Jive dancers from Nottingham Rock ‘n’ Roll will also be appearing along the trail and Beth’s Poetry Trail, which was started in memory of poet Beth Fender, will be woven into the trail.

There will also be poetry walks at 11am on each of the days from the Bandstand in the River Gardens. And for kids there will be a Children’s Trail involving the Beast of Belper. On the Sunday there will also be a vintage café at No 28 hosted by Reminiscence Vintage

The ribbon will be cut to mark the official opening of the Belper Arts Festival by the town’s MP, Pauline Latham, tomorrow. Following the launch at 7.30pm an interpretation of Picasso’s “Guernica” by Belper Arts Collaborative will be unveiled. And at 8.15pm there will be a performance of Willy Russell’s modern classic “Educating Rita” featuring Sali Gresham and Jeff Foster.