The first Welborne ‘Arts Weekend’ was in 2001 and came about because Welborne was offered the Creative Arts East (CAE) 2001 touring art exhibition at short notice; another village had cancelled because of foot and mouth restrictions. The exhibition was brought on a lorry to Welborne for one day; to add to the event we put also on a flower festival in the church and provided refreshments.
Over subsequent years the Welborne Arts Festival grew in size and stature to become a successful and popular event on the Arts calendar. The festival initially used just the village hall and All Saints Churchyard but expanded to include the meadow field, adjacent to the churchyard.
Funding was a perennial issue and as a result the festival has always been subject to financial pressure. In 2007 it went from being an annual to a bi-annual event in order to ensure that an on-going future, within funding constraints, could be achieved. However, with contributions from various quarters, the festival has always been a local event for which the organising committee and villagers could be proud.
Notable activities have included:
- Regular Artists-in-residence
- Evening Concerts
- Exhibitions by local groups and local residents
- Demonstration events for Pottery, Sculptures, Painting, wood carving etc.
- Readings and book signing by various Norfolk-based authors including: Patricia Duncker, Louis de Bernières and Michèle Roberts
- Major attractions including Circus Ferrel, Fiddlesticks North West Clog Dancers and Kennington Lodge Equestrian team
- Spin off activities including, a day at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts for pupils from four local schools, followed by visual artists Sarah Florence and Jessica Perry working with the children at their schools. The work by the children was then displayed outside the church at the festival.
Objectives of the Arts Festival
There were a number of long term objectives of Welborne Arts Festival including:
- to improve access to and experience of the arts and professional artists for people living in a remote rural area where access to the arts is limited
- to celebrate Welborne as a community and a place to live
- to increase the sense of inclusion for all residents of Welborne and surrounding villages
- to address the issues of community development, learning and skills, rural isolation, particularly for the young, the elderly and those with disabilities by linking culture and learning
- to develop new rural audiences for the arts
- to inspire villagers to be creative themselves to develop audiences for future activities in Welborne
We have had the serious intent of “bringing the arts to the people” but there was and always will be a sense of fun in what we offer.
Latest News: Following a reduction in available Arts funding, the Welborne Arts Festival will not be running in 2017.