Warwickshire’s largest free arts festival Art in the Park will return to Leamington with a big splash next month.
Buzzing with artists,performers, workshops, music and street food throughout Jephson Gardens and the Pump Rooms Art Gallery and Gardens, the festival on Saturday and Sunday August 3 and 4 will honour the town’s famous doctor and philanthropist.
The free festival will be themed on ‘Water’ in honour of Doctor Henry Jephson, who helped promote the healing properties of the Leamington’s spa waters and whose large marble statue resides in the gardens in a Corinthian style temple.
Carole Sleight, The festivals director. said: “Our choice of water as a theme is also because the River Leam runs alongside the festival and we wanted people to think about this and current issues around plastic pollution, the environment and climate change in a visual and creative way.
“There is simply too much to see and do in one day, so the festival team hopes to see visitors back for the following day to experience even more dazzling, surprising and inspiring performance and events.
“There is so much creativity here, it must be something to do with the water.”
Over the course of the two days, more than 240 artists will be exhibiting, demonstrating and selling original pieces of art works accompanied to music from 30 bands across two stages including the Sing it Loud choir, Gloria Sunset, Jake Rizzo and a unique performance of Handel’s Water Music.
Leamington dance theatre group Motionhouse will be performing inspiration duets ‘Knot’ and ‘Happy Hour’ and budding actors can learn performance skills from Heartbreak Productions.
Balbir Singh will fuse BMX stunts with Indian dance, and there will be a giant story-telling Whale, a magical Giant Globe, a surreal bee cart buzzing around and the performing team from the Fairly FreshFish Company.
Arts Council England funding has enabled the festival to commission an original interactive water art installation from Coventry artist Julia Snowdin.
And BRINK Contemporary Arts will host a series of leading street artists such as N4T4 and Graffoflarge to create live art and show visitors how to use a can of spray paint.
Two community projects will continue the theme with a giant knitted fish and jelly fish installation made by more than 300 residents and a giant selfie chair made by eco bricks which are packed with non-recyclable plastic.
Ali Mckeller, community arts producer, said: "We have run workshops in temples, community centres and craft groups and the response has been incredible with people creating their own unique creation which will be part of a large fishing scene in the centre of the park.”
The arbours are decorated for respite and quiet and it is here where visitors and locals can reflect and engage with Oxford artist Matt Smart’s installations which will provoke, entertain and question.
Artisan street caterers such as the vegan Purple Caulifower or Mister V’s legendary burgers will be there to provide nourishment as will Warwickshire Beer companies’ finest beverages.
Meanwhile at the Riverside area there will be more than 30 workshops to enjoy including a series of ‘Make and Take’ workshops from the Warwickshire Etsy team and the infamous Yodomo London team who specialise in online courses from making sour dough to your own terrarium.
For more information about the festival visit www.artinpark.co.uk