Some of Cumbria’s most celebrated artists will be displaying their work in shops, cafes and hairdressers as part of the city’s first Historic Quarter Arts Festival which begins this weekend.
The event gets underway this weekend and features 50 artists in 16 venues including Tullie House, Carlisle Cathedral and a central exhibition on Paternoster Row.
The embryonic festival is the first project for the Historic Quarter Network, which has brought together businesses to collaborate on promoting the area, and it is hoped that the event will help increase footfall for shops and tourist attractions alike.
The event is being curated by Carlisle artist Daniel Ibbotson with the central exhibition being held at Intro under the name Viola Tricola – a potion which features in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, causing people to fall in love with the first thing they see.
Maps have been printed to encourage people to follow the art trail around the Historic Quarter and see the works of art on display in venues ranging from Cakes & Ale and Northern Vacuums to Castle Chocolates and the Vinyl Cafe.
Adrian Tod is looking forward to seeing art displayed at Hayward Tod after weeks of planning with neighbouring businesses.
“We are thrilled to be part of this network and this exciting project, supporting talented local artists whilst also promoting the beautiful Historic Quarter, which we have been part of for 30 years,” he said.
Stephen Matthews, owner of Bookcase, said: “This event can help us make more of the city’s historical legacy and this area’s role as its cultural hub.”
Festival curator, Daniel Ibbotson, is urging people to come along and support artists. “We will have an exciting mix that will include internationally renowned artists. This is something fresh for Carlisle.”
Nick Turner, director of Intro PR, which is hosting the central exhibition, hopes that the festival can grow into a bigger event next year.
“There is a lot of concern at the moment about the future of the high street. Hopefully this event will show in a small way that you can use art to generate excitement around the city centre and it can grow into something bigger in future years”, he said.
The event has been supported by a grant from Carlisle City Council which has helped pay for promotional material and also given employment to University of Cumbria fine art student Abbie Crowe who has helped the artists display their work.
The Historic Quarter Arts Festival takes place from June 18th to 26th.