Friday, May 04, 2012

Purbeck Art Weeks 26 May- 10 June


- 10th successful Festival year: PAW Anniversary and Jubilee Celebrations

- Purbeck: the Cultural Gateway to the Jurassic Coast

- Festival runs 26 May to the 10 June 2012

SPARKLING cultural celebrations shine on Purbeck in May and June with the 10th successive year of the Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) Festival. The 2012 Festival galvanises a stellar line-up of regional and international artistic talent for 16 Festival days. Purbeck's creative showpiece takes place 26 May to the 10 June and spans the wider Royal Jubilee celebrations.

The PAW Festival has grown substantially over the past decade. This year's event celebrates an impressive cultural programme, encompassing visual art, music, film and story-telling. Drawing on the success of previous years, a major part of the 2012 Festival is the active involvement of Purbeck's Young Artists. This involves 12 -schools across the region, helping Purbeck school-children develop artistic expression and exhibit their work at Rollington Barn from the 26 May onwards. The theme this year is the Carnival of the Animals, which encompasses the fabulous musical suite written by French romantic composer, Camille Saint-Saens.

Purbeck is a timeless landscape of ever-changing colours. The region has attracted leading artists over the past 200-years drawn to the exceptional Jurassic Coast setting and unique light conditions available in the area. Artists range from distinguished landscape painter, Paul Nash to Toulouse Lautrec's contemporary, Charles Conder. Others captivated by Purbeck include Walter Field, Denis Lowson, Augustus John, Mark Gertler, Alfred Palmer, Graham Sutherland and Henry Tanworth Wells. Musicians included E.J. Moeran and Peter Warlock.

Nowadays Purbeck is experiencing a wider cultural renaissance. In recent years, many have noticed a St Ives effect taking hold and since 2002 the annual PAW Festival has developed a substantial following. In 2012 the Festival embraces such international names as:

• Author and TV/radio presenter, Melvyn Bragg, who gives a stirring talk about the cultural significance of the King James Bible.

• Oscar winning composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love) and his group performing some of his famous music scores.

• The world-renowned Gabrieli Consort & Players performing Handel's English Pastoral Acis & Galatea as well as a Handel oboe concerto.

• The lyrical Brahms Horn Trio performed by international classical musicians Miranda Fulleylove, Fergus McWilliam and Huw Watkins.

• Early Music Show presenter Lucie Skeaping joining fellow artists for a show on the theme of The Music of the Spheres.

• The rising stars of the Sacconi Quartet for a programme featuring Mozart, Beethoven and Bartok.

• Professional tuba players called 'YouTuba!' performing The Carnival of the Animals (the artistic theme for Purbeck Young Artists this year) and other works as well as opening the Festival in the grounds of Corfe Castle (26 May).

• Illustrated talks covering talented Dorset artist and Director of the Glasgow School of Art, Fra Newbery.

• Historian Philip Mansell opening his house at Smedmore to give a talk on 'Grand Tourists in the East: from Casano to Disraeli.'

During the 16 Festival days, over 50 local artists will open their studios showing their recent work. Many of the pieces displayed are directly inspired by Purbeck's unique geology, flora and fauna. Artists will also talk about their work at the Festival's central exhibition space: Rollington Barn near Corfe Castle. During the 16 days, blue and yellow PAW Festival signs guide visitors and residents to working studios where painters, printmakers, sculptors, ceramicists, illustrators, jewellers, textile artists and photographers will be on hand to explain their work. There will also be the opportunity in some cases to participate in creative workshops.

The Royal Jubilee will be honoured on Sunday 3rd June at the splendid Victorian Church, St James' Kingston, where international musicians, Mhairi Lawson (soprano) and Paula Chateauneuf (lutes), perform evocative music from the courts of Elizabeth I, James VI, Charles I, Charles II and William and Mary (including Dowland and Purcell compositions).

During the opening Weekend at Corfe Castle (26 May), the spectacular venue provided courtesy of the National Trust; a dazzling procession of brass, drums, flags and masks, followed by circus acts, jazz and stallholders offering tasty local food and produce, will triumphantly open the Festival. For the following 16 days there will be the chance to 'Crown the Castle' by helping recreate a gigantic stone-built Jubilee Crown. A similar commemorative showpiece was also a feature of Queen Victoria's Jubilee - the picture attached shows how it looked then.

The PAW 2012 Fringe offers an eclectic mix of established and emerging artists, fresh ideas, spontaneity and fun. It’s an opportunity to see exciting and entertaining work in an atmosphere that encourages taking a chance and discovering something new. Fringe events this year offer the chance to take part in a frockalicious bike ride to what is arguably the best pub in the world. Create a plasticine landscape inspired by the stunning Jurassic Coast. Help an environmental artist make patterns in the sand. Indulge in a bit of wild knitting. Photograph a Chococo dinosaur somewhere in the wilds of Purbeck. Listen to The Supernovas at The Legion. Enjoy Tapas while listening to Ansell & Gretel at Tawny’s Wine Bar. Equally, if you are mad about computers, please join in at the digital animation workshop. There's also the chance to find out why Shakespeare left his second best bed to his wife and hear Time & Tide telling tales on the Swanage sea front. Full Fringe information can be found at: and on the PAW Facebook page.

Festival President, Anthony Caro, OM CBE is delighted to lend his support, saying recently: 'Art is so important because it fuels the soul. It is an expression of who we are and what we are feeling. The range of artistic talent drawn to the Purbeck region is testament to the ongoing success of this important annual cultural event.'

'Purbeck Art Weeks Festival encourages young people to be adventurous and stimulates and informs an ever-growing national and regional audience drawn to the region.'

'It's a delight to see PAW celebrate its 10th anniversary. It's a grass roots cultural organisation run by enthusiastic volunteers supported by local businesses. It operates without large grants from local or central government and depends solely upon the support of the community it serves. Here's to many more years to come.'

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