This year’s Isle of Man Art Festival is set to take place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend: Saturday 29 April, Sunday 30 April and Monday 1 May 2017. Now into its sixth year, this annual celebration of visual art provides a wealth of inspiration and opportunities to discover local artists, with open access to artist studios, exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations right across the Island.
Peel and the west are effectively the spiritual home of the festival. For the four years following its inception, the festival was known as WOSAT – Western Open Studios Art Trail – before expanding to become an all-Island festival last year.
‘Last year’s festival attracted more than 1,000 visitors,’ said Myra Gilbert, of the Creative Network committee. ‘Our four successful years in the west gave us a solid foundation on which to expand, and we expect the festival to keep on growing each year. This year we have extended even further, adding venues including an important new hub in Sulby Glen.’
Hosted by Sue Quilliam, who works with spinning and wool craft, the new Sulby hub will feature a wealth of diverse and beautiful creativity. Among those taking part are Bill Kelly, who works with pewter, wood carver and sculptor Gavin Carter, and Sara Hogg, who is also a spinner and wool crafter. There will also be work from recent fine art graduate Rosie Wood, as well as beautiful original cards by Julie Roberts and Julia Ashby Smyth.
In Peel, Helen Fox is planning an installation with scallop shells in the Sailors Shelter, in the shape of a giant grotto-style structure that people can stand inside.
‘I’m aiming to make it a multi-sensory experience for sight, sound and touch, highlighting marine conservation issues and the decline of the fishing industry,’ said Helen. ‘I was inspired by the space in the Shelter when I attended an Isle of Architecture event there.’
More than 40 artists are participating in the festival, spanning a huge range of disciplines including painting, illustration, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, print-making and photography – and visitors will have many opportunities to get involved in creative activities.
Entrance to studios, demonstrations and exhibition venues for the full three days will be by purchase of a festival passport at £5 (under 18s go free). All venues will be open between 11am and 5pm each day. Festival passports will be available from three weeks in advance of the festival at the House of Manannan among other venues.
The Isle of Man Art Festival is organised by The Creative Network, an artists’ cooperative with the shared aim of promoting art and artists on the Island and beyond. Valuable support is provided by the Isle of Man Arts Council, Manx National Heritage, Peel Commissioners and partner galleries.
To stay up to date with news of venues, demos and activities, follow Creative Network IoM on Facebook.