Oxfordshire Artweeks: Celebrating 30 years of a remarkable annual festival
Oxfordshire Artweeks celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It had a comparatively modest start: a single week with a small number of mainly city-based artists taking part. It now runs for three weeks, with well over 1,000 artists taking part across the 1,005 square miles of Oxfordshire, with each week focusing on a different part of the county Those taking part in Artweeks range from highly experienced and well-known artists to beginners, both adults and children, making it a celebration of the huge range, wealth and variety of creativity that exists in the county. And similarly, we, the visiting public will range from seasoned enthusiasts to interested newcomers, all keen to experience the arts in their widest sense.
Work on show is complemented by a range of workshops and talks, all designed to encourage people to try something new and different. How about Learning How to Fold, Compile and Stitch a Book (The Cornerstone, Didcot), or Casting in Pewter (The Mill, Banbury)?
Children and young people are also making their contribution with 15 schools and colleges taking part, many of them primary schools. In one of these, the North Hinksey CE Primary School Felt Club, led by parent/tutor Nicki Parsons, eight- and nine- year-olds will be showing their skill and expertise in the different aspects of this art form, creating composite pictures. And for Artweeks they are creating a wall hanging in celebration of The Queen’s Jubilee.
As one young artist put it: “I think Artweeks is really inspirational because you can go into all sorts of places and see art you normally wouldn’t be able to see, and it shows that everyone is an artist in their own way.” A consummate summary of Artweeks, indeed.
Free Artweeks guides are available from libraries and other venues across the county, or electronically at www.artweeks.org.