The Stamford Arts Festival took over the town centre in June 2015 with a wide variety of free performances across 9 designated ‘Performance Spots’ – coordinated with INK Contemporary Theatre – encompassing street theatre, music, dance and performance poetry. Amongst others, a sword swallower, juggler and stilt walking Mad Hatter roamed the streets, contemporary dancer Lindsay Jenkins performed a new work on the High Street and a photographer captured the public, posed in a giant frame.
An Artists’ Marquee on the Recreation Ground hosted free drop-in art activities lead by professional artists: PAPERSCAPE, creating a laser cut flat-pack carton townscape based on Stamford’s topography and heritage with Sue Shields; FOUND IN THE FIELDS, creating polymer clay plants and flora with Kathryn Parsons; STREET ART with Blok Collective and TRADITIONAL CRAFTS with Ukrainian artist, Iryna Haslam. A number of other visual artists also demonstrated a diverse range of practices, from stone masonry to printmaking, pottery, painting and felting. Renowned illustrator, Karen Neale, offered tips on sketching and Jeni Cairns plasma cut some of her award-winning metal designs live on site.
Art Pop-Up commissioned two new works as part of the festival. The painting ‘Stamford’s Stone Heritage’ by Jason Duckmanton is an intricately illustrated timeline of Stamford’s celebrated stone heritage incorporating the work of local geologist and palaeontologist Alan Dawn. The founder and President of the Stamford and District Geological Society, Alan made made many important discoveries and developed the Stamford stone trail. Inspired by local poet, John Clare’s life and work, Kathryn Parson’s created the ‘Found in the Fields Triptych’. Whilst Clare used pen and ink to express his intimate observations of nature, here the ‘poetry’ is written in hand-modelled porcelain and tells of plants that now grow in places once precious to the poet. The focus is on plant textures, structures and forms, the porcelain’s fragile yet long-lasting qualities echo that of Clare himself, and his legacy of poetry and natural history prose.
Art Pop-Up is a BBC ‘Get Creative’ Champion and the festival was part of this initiative.
- The National Lottery through Arts Council England
- Lincolnshire County Council
- Big Community Fund
- Stamford Town Council
- Metal Culture
- The Kiwanis
- The Welland Valley Arts Society
- Stamford Festival Association