Newry’s very first Festival of Windows has been launched. The Festival takes place in Hill Street in Newry from Friday the 13th of June to Friday the 27th of June and will showcase work from local art and crafts people in shop windows in Hill Street in the City centre, turning the Street into a continuous Gallery from the Town Hall all the way down to the Market.
Exhibitors will include Newry’s up and coming and established artists and crafts people including Students from the SRC, U3A members, Newry Arts Society, The Journeyman Saddler, Clanrye Lace, Film Makers and more.
Agnes Murnin, 3D Lecturer in Art and Design, Southern Regional College said “This is a great occasion for the region to observe the talent within the area and to see what opportunities are available within the art department at Southern Regional College.”
The Festival was the brainchild of the Newry 2020 group, a grassroots organisation set up to help make Newry city a better place to live in and visit. The group are also working on music festival Iúr Cinn Fleadh from the 12th to the 14th of September and are campaigning to bring a City Centre Park to the Albert Basin.
The ethos of the Festival of Windows is to brighten up the Hill Street area and encourage more people to visit by showcasing the wide variety of extremely talented arts and crafts people present in our area .
Jack Murphy, Newry City Centre Management and one of the organisers of the event praised the connection it made between Hill Street and the Southern Regional College, attracting students, tutors, parents and friends to the street to check out the exhibition.
A secondary element of the festival is to encourage shops to leave their shutters open longer as well as promoting the painting of unsightly shutters, a service that members of The Magnet Centre have agreed to do for free as long as the business covers the cost of paint typically £150.
Already the Sugar Supper Club in Sugar Island has it’s shutter painted with incredible artwork so if anyone needs to see the potential of the project they should check it out. Any businesses interested or if you need more information on the festival you should contact the Newry 2020 group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ultimately Newry2020 would like to see a future Hill Street where shutters are a thing of the past and prospective shoppers can wander down the street at any time of the day or night checking out what the shops have to offer. This may be some time away but small steps such as the Festival of Windows should begin to show the potential out there.
It is hoped that the festival will become an annual event.