Festival set to find hidden art talents

Wendy Soo-Mawston, volunteer at the Bulwell Arts Festival
Wendy Soo-Mawston, volunteer at the Bulwell Arts Festival

Bulwell Arts Festival is set to return for its fourth spectacular year and the organisers have issued a final call for artists and crafts people.

Anyone who has yet to apply must do so by midnight tonight, although coordinator Nicola Curzon says there may be future call-outs before it starts in July.

“People don’t realise there are lots of artists in Bulwell,” she said, adding that the festival’s ethos is “to listen to what people want, rather than tell them” - while the main aim is simply for “people to come along and enjoy themselves.”

Last year’s festival attracted over 5,000 people in eight days, and Nicola says the festival has “expanded a lot in such a short space of time.”

This year’s festival will kick off “with tonnes and tonnes of stuff” at Bulwell Academy, as part of the festival’s remit is to involve local schools.

Among the highlights will be an “orchestra of sound”, performed by 200 kids in Bulwell market place, spectacular work by “dome artist” Graham Elstone, and a Poetry in the Pub event, with Bulwell poet Joy Rice at the William Peverel.

Nicola, 37, of Logan Street, promises “something for everyone”, with exhibitions, live music, drama and a recycling art event at Bulwell Forest Garden.

Bulwell-born and bred, Nicola’s background is in acting and theatre direction, and she has run her own theatre company as well as appearing in the blockbuster film The Golden Compass.

She said: “It is all about community- and it is by and for the people of Bulwell. We are looking to find people with hidden talents - we want to be an outlet for them, so they can sell some work, and perhaps set up a business.”

A case in point is festival volunteer Wendy Soo-Mawston, who exhibited a series of photographs at Lloyds Bank in 2016.

The pictures, based on personal experiences, used food items to make striking and original images, like a flower made out of bannanas, and a bouquet using mushrooms, Chinese paper and lemongrass.

Wendy, 46, of Farley Street, is of Chinese descent and moved to the UK from New Zealand 22 years ago.

This year she will be exhibiting and selling homemade cotton bags, in a line called, appropriately enough, “Cute Little Bags by Wendy”.

She said: “I first made some for my daughter’s fourth birthday and distributed them filled with toys as gifts to the guests. The response was very positive and so I decided there could be a market for them.

“As a result I have created a small but successful business which keeps me occupied and enables me to spend a lot of time with my family.”

For details of the Bulwell Arts Festival which is being staged from July 8 to July 15, visit www.bulwellartsfestival.com.