Preview: The BIG Art Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This weekend (6th-7th July), Stockton-on-Tees will be showcasing a free visual arts festival featuring fifty artists from the Tees Valley taking part. The BIG Art Festival from Stockton BID will see creative spaces popping up around the town and includes and art trail of commissioned mural artworks, live artist demonstrations and workshops to inspire creativity and connection within communities. 

Artists taking part in The BIG Art Festival include three commissioned mural artworks with Nocciola The Drawer (Hazel Oakes), an illustrator who worked with students from Stockton Riverside College and whose work celebrates capturing the community spirit, joy and passion that unites people; Megan Fearnley, whose work reflects a vibrant and dynamic connection to the natural world; and Charly Mupenga’s who is inspired by personal experiences he has had in Africa and whose work illustrates the importance of bringing a smile to those in difficulty. In addition to the commissioned murals, there is a mural by Festival Director and expressionist portrait artist Harriett Mee, whose work centres around the themes of self-actualisation and belonging. 

Festival Director Harriet Mee comments: “We want to show that art is all around us and to celebrate visual artists in the area. We want to make art accessible as possible for all and for people to experience the wonderful talent of these contemporary artists and to inspire and empower communities.  We welcome everyone to come along and celebrate this inaugural visual arts festival and explore the artworks in the venues and public spaces.”

Jason Maxwell, Stockton BID Manager adds: “We wanted to bring The BIG Art Festival to capitalise on the potential of the cultural economy and support the artists in the area. It is well documented that art is a powerful way to promote wellbeing and creativity and build connections and we have already seen many people in the town positively engaging with the artists during the installation period in public spaces.       

“We want the artists to be known and help create opportunities for them and support the important role art and culture can play within communities.  Thanks to all the businesses and supporters, and the many artists taking part in The BIG Art Festival, who have come together to realise the ambition of highlighting creativity within our communities.”

Artworks are exhibited in The ARC Arts Centre; workshops take place in The Georgian Theatre and the Creative Village and live demonstrations take place in Green Dragon Yard and ARC.  There is also an artist market in the Georgian Theatre. Full details on the festival including a programme can be found here.

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