Be a part of the Artstrail buzz in Leamington

LEAMINGTON’s vibrant arts scene has been bringing the town centre alive on the fourth Saturday of every month now for more than a year, thanks to the hard-work of a self-funding voluntary enterprise.

The small group of people who take out their own time to run Artstrail have been helping artists from around the area and beyond to promote their work since May 2011 at the monthly Leamington Contemporary Arts Fairs in Livery Street - and now they are ready to grow even bigger.

Carole Sleight, who runs her own online vintage tea stands company, Let Them Eat Cake, set up Artstrail with Gerry Smith, who runs Gallery 150, to bring together the town’s artistic talents together.

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Carole said: “There is a high density of artists here. What seems to be amiss is them actually having the necessary tools to promote themselves. We can bridge that gap.”

Having previously worked in London as editor of BBC’s Video Nation, when Carole moved to Leamington, she was struck by how many artists live in the relatively small town.

She said: “What makes a great town environment is when people come together creatively.

“Out of Leamington’s lively and creative atmosphere comes so many things.

“The fair is very versatile in how you want to use it. You don’t have to be an established artist. Use us as a launch pad.”

Now attracting around 13,000 visitors per fair, the venture, at which individual artists often earn around £500 in one day, has been very well received and has recently received permission from Regent Court Shopping Centre to extend further along Livery Street.

Carole said: “We do get professional artists, but also people who are starting out and teachers, lecturers and students.

“We also run workshops on things like how to present, hang and sell your work.

“We have seen some people who have never done a fair progress to presenting really good-looking displays. People have had a lot of commissions from it.”

Stall prices vary and start from £25, but artists can cut down on costs by sharing a stall or including a live demonstration or musical or theatrical performance at their stall.

Artstrail is also looking for more volunteers to help with running stalls for artists who prefer not to do it themselves, managing its website, marketing and distributing leaflets.

Carole said: “We’re really trying to give it a bigger push. We want Leamington to become known for its arts fair.

“This is happening, it’s informal and it’s an opportunity for newcomers and seasoned artists.”

The Leamington Contemporary Arts Fair takes place on the fourth Saturday of every month. The next one is on Saturday October 27 from 10am to 5pm.

To find out more or book a stall, call Carole on 07768 617081 or email [email protected]

www.artstrail.co.uk