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Festival will ‘transform Hill Street’ into Ireland’s biggest art gallery’

Newry’s Hill Street will be transformed into a huge open air art gallery this week with the opening of a two week festival aimed at brightening up the city centre while showcasing local artistic talent – with Southern Area Hospice benefiting from the ambitious project. The Festival of Windows kicks off Friday June 13 and will run to Friday June 27. It will feature from local arts and crafts people in shop windows turning the street into a continuous gallery from the Town Hall all the way down to John Mitchel Place. Exhibitors will include up and coming and established artists and crafts people including students from the SRC, U3A members, Newry Arts Society, The Journeyman Saddler, Clanrye Lace, pupils from local primary schools and more. A substantial amount of the art and craft work will be for sale. The public will deal directly with the artist via a contact number on each piece and 25 per cent of proceeds will go to the Southern Area Hospice. The event organiser Garry McElheron said: “I have been to SRC and marvelled at the wonderful art that will be a big part in the Hill Street Festival of Windows. The uptake of the shops and businesses is over 90 per cent. “I commend and than them wholeheartedly foro their support. There will be art installations, delicate ceramics, mixed media, photography, crafts such as quilting and a lace and a saddler. These are very talented people and I hope all can make it down Hill Street at some point to see Ireland’s Greatest Art Gallery.” The festival is the brain child of the Newry 2020 group, a grassroots organisation set up to “Help make Newry a better place to live in and visit.” The group are also working on music festival Iur Cinn Fleadh which will run n September and are planning to bring a City Centre Park to the Albert Basin. According to Organisers 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. 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 agreed to do for free as long as the business covers the cost of paint, typically £150. In addition the arts section of Newry and Mourne Council have sponsored the event by commissioning an artist to help pupils from Windsor Hill Primary School St Joseph’s Primary School and Bunscoil an Luir provide art for several windows.


Newry Democrat

10th June 2014