Jephson Gardens was awash with colour as the Art in the Park festival returned to Leamington. Some 10,000 visitors flocked to the town over the weekend to enjoy the two day event, which offered everything from paintings to prints, ceramics to jewellery, and textiles to sculpture.
Designed to celebrate the wide diversity of talent in the area while also inspiring others to take up an artistic pursuit, the free festival showcased the work of more than 100 local artists. Organiser Carole Sleight admitted she was impressed by the success of this year’s festival. She said: “It was a real game changer and will help put Leamington on the map for its creative scene. The weather was incredible and we welcomed a record number of visitors with many coming from across the Midlands and beyond. “It was fantastic to also have Art in the Park founder Mo Finnesey present and I’m delighted so many people had a chance to see how diverse the creative community is and how many talented artists live in our area. “There really was something for everyone at the event – from art and performances to great food and drink from local suppliers. “We’re delighted to once again have had so much support and interest from the county and district council, BID Leamington, local businesses, our volunteers and of course the artists who have made it popular for another year.”
Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said Art in the Park had grown to become a fixture in the town’s calendar. She added: “The event is a wonderful showcase of the talented artists in our community and its success is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved.”
The theme of this year was camouflage – inspired by Leamington Camouflage Group – a group of landscape painters and set designers employed during the Second World War to disguise bombing targets by creatively painting fake road markings onto rooftops.
Stagecoach Theatre School devised a special camouflage performance piece for the festival and to honour Leamington Camouflage, visitors were able to contribute to a community yarn bombing installation in the Pump Room Gardens.
The town’s camouflage heritage celebration continues with the Creative Camouflage Trail around Leamington’s Art Gallery and Museum on Saturday August 27.
And organisers have announced next year the theme will be the year of the elephant – celebrating Leamington’s elephant association.