Wrestlers, orchestras and giant robotic heads will take over Plymouth for epic arts festival 

SARAH WADDINGTON Herald Reporter @sarewaddington
Plymouth Herald  |  Tue 19 Jul 2016

Wrestlers, church congregations, orchestras, and giant robotic heads will all be part of a three-day arts festival spanning the whole city.

And this year’s Plymouth Art Weekender is promising to be bigger and better than last September’s ambitious and colourful event.

Festival coordinator Gordon Dalton says there is a “latent hunger” for culture in Plymouth following the inaugural Weekender.

The Weekender will take over the city and promote Plymouth as a contemporary art destination that encourages participation in a wide range of exhibitions and exciting activities for all ages.

Mr Dalton, aged 45, said: “In just one year it has become a significant part of Plymouth’s cultural offer as we head toward Mayflower 2020.

“This year has a very diverse programme featuring school children, wrestlers, church congregations, orchestras, parades and street parties and giant robotic heads alongside the very best in contemporary art exhibitions.

“There will be a range of very direct interactions with the public, and we hope people will take part in the many events across Plymouth.”

The Plymouth Art Weekender is produced by Visual Arts Plymouth (VAP), a diverse group of volunteers who represent visual arts organisations, communities and artists from across the city.

Following an open call for ideas, over 50 events feature local, national, and international artists including Douglas Gordon, Myriam Lefkowitz, Jock Mooney, Holly Davey, Katya Sander, Low Profile and a public art commission by art collective, Reactor.

Exhibitions, talks, music, film, workshops, and performance will be staged across Plymouth, taking over galleries, houses, empty spaces, and connecting communities together across the city.

The Weekender’s events can be navigated through a free art map, available from galleries, shops and libraries across Plymouth, as well as online at plymouthartweekender.com.

“It is great way to see a new side to Plymouth and visit new places,” said Mr Dalton, who is also the network manager for Visual Arts South West.

“It is extremely gratifying that within just ten short months the Plymouth Art Weekender already feels like a vital part of the calendar on a local, national and potentially international scale.

“Venues include the award winning Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Royal William Yard, the Athenaeum, Plymouth Social Club, Union Street, Karst, PAC, Peninsula Arts and a host of other non-art venues.”

Initiated by VAP, with support from Plymouth Culture and Arts Council England, Mr Dalton says the city’s artists, communities, organisations and stakeholders have “taken enthusiastically” to celebrating and showcasing the visual arts scene.

“There is a ‘can do’ attitude,” he commented, “and a latent hunger for culture in Plymouth, one that can be developed and exported, promoting Plymouth as a destination for the visual arts while nurturing a supportive arts ecology that not only fits the city’s status as a place of study, but also runs alongside plans for a Public Art Strategy, a City of Culture bid and Mayflower 2020 celebrations.”

Plymouth Art Weekender will take place from Friday, September 23 to Sunday, September 25.


This article first appeared in the Plymouth Herald.