Newquay’s Art8 Festival runs from 27 April to 1 May, so we asked Art8 organiser Caroline Swain to tell us more about the event.
When did Art8 start and where did the idea come from?
Art8 started in 2011 and was set up by a group of volunteers who wanted two things; to see more artistic and cultural activity in Newquay, and for there to be a platform for local artists (of all forms) to show their work and perform in a safe and supportive environment for local people and visitors to enjoy.
Art8 is about making arts and culture more accessible and affordable to local people and supporting the huge amount of creativity that is born and growing in the town.
Where did the Art8 name come from?
In its first couple of years Art8 ran for eight days and covered eight art forms, however as a team we decided that this felt quite limiting so over the years we have experimented with different lengths of the festival and putting it on in different months of the year.
Narrowing arts and culture into eight types was proving difficult and we wanted to be able to include activities that may not have fitted into the original eight – cooking for example!
Can you give us a flavour of who is taking part in Art8?
This year we have a fantastic mixture of artists and photographers new to Art8 and some who have exhibited with us in previous years.
We have probably got more artists and photographers showing their work than ever before, covering a huge amount of different art forms including watercolours, illustration, digital art, stained glass, surf photography and a whole lot more.
At our Art8 Makery and Artisan Market, which will be on the Killacourt on Sunday, 30 April, we have over 25 local makers who will be selling their wares, plus performers from local schools, dance groups and lots for the whole family to enjoy.
What makes Art8 special?
Art8 brings out a new side to Newquay, which is always known for its surf and nightlife. There is a huge amount of creativity in the town and before Art8 this was quite suppressed as there just wasn’t a platform for this work to be shown. Now that the town has an arts platform, and the festival is bedding into the town’s calendar each year, it is getting more and more well known.
What are the highlights of this year’s festival?
Sunday’s Art8 Makery and Artisan Market is a new event for Art8 – it started last year on the Killacourt and we have just built it up this year. Alongside performances from choirs, musicians and dancers, there will be a making space run by Blystra Arts, and we will have lots of local crafts people selling their work – we hope this will be a day for the whole family to enjoy.
A theatre highlight will be Devon based theatre company Le Navet Bete performing Dracula at Treviglas College on Friday 28th April
Where do the events take place? Is there an entry fee?
Events take place in venues all across the town. Lots of them are free or entry for a nominal donation and a few events have a fixed ticket price – details of these can be found in the Art8 flyer which you can get from Whiskers or from the Tourist Information Centre or any of the Art8 venues.
Can I visit the festival all in one day?
You could certainly visit a lot of the art work in one day and make your way around all the venues in the town which have given some exhibition space to local artists and photographers. Every day there are different performances, workshops and other events happening so it is best to check out the timetable of events before visiting. My advice is to take a couple of days and focus on events and workshops on one day and exhibitions the next.
What are your tips for making the most of a visit?
Take the time to go around the different venues to see the artwork – venues can be bars, cafes, hotels and lots of other local businesses and they are all giving their space to artists for free. Don’t be afraid to pop in to any of them and check out the art and photography they are exhibiting.
For some artists this may be the first time they have exhibited and some others may be seasoned pros but it is definitely worth visiting as many venues as possible as we can guarantee you will be surprised about the vast amount and style of the different work being created in Newquay.
If you want to experience a full day of Art8 visit the Art8 Makery and Artisan Fair on the Sunday, which will be kicked off with a Laughter Yoga session.
Picture credit: all images supplied by Art8.
It’s not too late to book a last-minute break at Trevella Park to enjoy Art8 – a three-night stay from Friday, 28 April starts from just £176.