The Shrewsbury Arts Trail is an exciting new initiative to promote the visual arts in the town, making the work of Shropshire’s artists and craftspeople accessible to everyone.
It is a free event launching this month and has been put together entirely thanks to the goodwill and hard work of volunteer artists and creatives, led by trail founder Jessica Richards of Shrewsbury Arts and Crafts supported by Phil Langstaff of the Visual Art Network and Shrewsbury BID.
Jessica said: "All my life I've been involved in the art scene around town. I wanted to try to get Shrewsbury to be more known for its art. There are so many talented people here. I saw other towns with arts trails that were successful and I thought they can't offer half as much as Shrewsbury. Why don't we have one?
"I'm very pleased to say that hundreds of artists are now taking part - so much of this was organised in lockdown. It was something exciting to focus on. I hope people will jump on it and support it. It's for all of us who have been locked up and as a mum myself, I've made sure there's lots to entertain children too."
Throughout June, you will be able to visit specially curated exhibitions all over town and discover the quality and creativity of local artists. In a truly diverse line-up, emerging talents will share space with those who attract international acclaim. Locations and organisations taking part include: The Soden Collection, The Market Hall and Shrewsbury Arts and Crafts, Bear Steps Gallery, Made in Shropshire, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Raven Studios and Shropshire Visual Art Network. There is a wonderful guide produced by Shrewsbury artist and designer Daisy Pooley Tolkien which will be available to pick up along the trail.
As you meander between locations, you can take a break at one of the cafes, bars, and restaurants that are also hosting the work of local artists, making it a truly immersive experience. You'll be able to see work by mural artist Matt Sewell all over town too, in Shrewsbury's Market Hall and Stop. Coffee shop in the museum.
The Shropshire Visual Art Network has a lovely drawing exhibition in its VAN Gallery on the middle level of Darwin Shopping Centre, open 11am-3pm. And there's a beautifully curated Nature and Landscape exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery too including works by Linda Edwards and sculptor Halima Cassell MBE along with photography from Birgitta Zoutman, Ross Parsons and Andrew Fusek Peters.
There's a Glass Festival planned for June 12 in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary's Church, with workshops and demonstrations led by local artists and makers - sure to inspire and fire the creative imagination - giving a glimpse into the extraordinary technicolour world of stained and painted glass.
This beautiful stained glass design is by Nathalie Hildegarde Liege of www.couleurlive.com
St Mary’s is home to a stunning collection of medieval stained and painted glass. The collection, cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust includes the magnificent Jesse Window, with much of its original glass dating back to 1327-1353. David Evans restored the window in 1859. It was originally made for Greyfriars in Shrewsbury but was later moved to St Chad's Church after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, before finding its permanent home here at St Mary's in 1792. This beautiful building houses the new sister cafe to The River View Cafe - so you'll be able to refresh en route!
Families can follow a children’s map which will lead you on a treasure hunt through the historic town centre, to accompany the trail. There are nine letters hidden in the windows of some of the trail locations. There are clues for each one on the back of the map, which was created by the artist Flora Patern. Find all the letters for your chance to win some fabulous arty prizes. You could win a print lesson at Bloom for budding artists, an activity pack from Lovelyland and a sketchbook and watercolour set from Write Here
And for more details visit the brilliant new website created by Sam Pooley-Stride