Final preparations are underway for the inaugural Dales Festival of Art, which takes place over the May Day  bank holiday weekend.

The free event, which runs from 4 to 6 May, 10am to 5pm, is a celebration of the creative industries and activities in the Dales.

This sister event to the Dales Festival of Food and Drink  has been backed by  Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, who said, “The close collaboration between the two is guaranteed to attract even more visitors by offering a new arts dimension to the already hugely popular food and drink festival. Festivals and events are big business in Yorkshire; they’re worth around £500m to the economy and account for ten per cent of visits here.”

Each day there will be ten mini original artworks donated by the participating artists hidden in shops and cafes for visitors to find and keep. Some of Leyburn’s businesses have joined in too with different offers exclusively for the weekend.

art festival

Browse in the Artists Market Marquee and grab a bargain directly from the artists. Hop on the free bus from Wensleydale Galleries’ and visit the Sculpture Park at Thornborough Hall, Culture Forum in Leyburn Library and  the Oak Room exhibition of local art groups,  photographs and archived photos of old Leyburn. Visit an exhibition of Army veterans’ paintings at Warland’s Gallery. Enjoy dancing and demonstrations by the Gurkha Regiment and their families.

There will be drop-in workshops at the festival for you to have another chance to make something to take away- including jewellery making in Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant , candle-making, printing, mosaics and beading in the Golden Lion, willow- weaving and sculpting  huge chess pieces in the Sculpture Park (Thornborough Hall’s Garden) a ‘have a go’ photography studio with Gary Lawson and some exciting demonstrations at Wensleydale Galleries.

The event sees  the culmination of four lead-in workshop months, each one dedicated to different areas of the community, where professional artists came and shared their secrets. Felt flower making under the guidance of artist Emma Fountain, mosaic making Green Man masks and story- telling with Irene Lofthouse, willow weaving with Josie Haskett, rag-rug making courtesy of Heather Ritchie, shopping bag printing and painting workshops with Lenny Szrama and Clare Lindley. All these crafted treasures will form a huge art trail around Leyburn- so look in the shops and cafes to see the work on display.

The Dales Festival of Art promises to be an exciting event, for all the family to enjoy and even participate in with plenty of opportunities  to create something to take home and to help celebrate the many creative activities of the Dales. See the map and flyer available throughout Leyburn for details of what is on where.

The event is being facilitated by The Pop-Up Gallery and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Richmondshire District Council as well as the Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership, NYCC Library Services and Leyburn and Mid Wensleydale Business Association.

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