From The Big Splash to Art On The Hill, Newport has offered up a series of events this year to promote the arts. As 2017 draws to a close I am taking a look back at a year full of art and culture across our city.
The annual celebrations of Pill Carnival and the Maindee Festival returned to large crowds this year. Music and colour filled the streets with these annual events which showcase the thriving community spirit in these areas.
The sun came out for Pill Carnival back in August, with community groups and local businesses manning elaborately decorated floats. Representatives from Pride in Pill were in attendance hoping to add to their ranks of fantastic volunteers, while local police officers interacted with the crowds to create a safe and relaxed atmosphere.
The Maindee Festival is one of my favourite events on the Newport calendar. This year the event gained recognition from the Love Live Music Awards, where it won the Best Local Event award.
The Big Splash is the headline event of the summer and this year a full programme of street performances filled the centre of town. If you haven’t been, why not? There is something to suit everyone and best of all it is free.
The Big Splash saw the Riverfront overtaken by interactive activities, but this was not the only time the venue opened its doors to families in the name of culture and creativity. The Grow Wild Takeover saw a celebration of nature and wildlife, which included immersive theatre, art installation and sensory experience.
Alongside the regular events, new ground was laid this year, with events I hope will continue in to the future. The Newport Photomarathon saw budding photographers face the challenge of taking twelve photos on set topics within 24 hours. Over a thousand images were submitted for judging and all of these went on display in a free exhibition at the Holbrook Studio, and then at the Riverfront.
Another first for Newport was Art On The Hill, which saw a weekend of art celebration across Newport. Installation, sound, digital illustration and film were among the many exhibitions which took place across the city. From building bridges in the Art Gallery to a screening of The Shaman of Rust, once again this event had something for everyone.
These are just some of the fantastic events that have taken place over the past year, right here in Newport. Each of these events is important as they open the arts up to a wider audience and give a fantastic platform for local artists to get noticed.
Most significantly, the events discussed in this blog were presented for free. They show that money is not a barrier for people who want to access the arts. There is no need to travel to Cardiff or London to see young artistic talent in action, it is happening right here in Newport.
As we embark on 2018 keep an eye out for a return of these events, and many more.