of the Arts Festival and the School Calendar Project
A potted history of the Drayton Arts Festival and the Schools Calendar Project
Prior to the inception of the first Arts Festival in 2014, Richard Priestley called a meeting seeking contributions of events from local community groups for all ages. Market Drayton Art Club offered to set up and organise a ‘Calendar Art Project’ for all the schools in the town and neighbouring villages. Amazingly, all 12 local Primary schools and the Grove Secondary school agreed to take part. Under the guidance of local printer Martin Wozencroft and generous sponsorship from local businesses, the first Schools Calendar was created.
In October 2014, the festival included an eclectic mix of community led events with a few special ‘bought in’ events co-ordinated by Richard Priestley, with the first Schools Calendar Project exhibition of 130 children’s paintings displayed at the Phoenix Community Centre. Sadly, at the end of the third Festival in 2016, Richard had to stand down for personal reasons.
Since then, a small team of volunteers have been the driving force, with support from staff in schools, the library, local activity organisations, venue managers and town traders. From a modest two-day festival in 2014, it has grown to an eight-day festival for our 10th Anniversary with over 50 events for all ages. Most events are hosted by members of the community with the addition of a few special ‘bought in’ events/attractions, such as an animatronic dinosaur roaming around the town centre during the first day of the festival.
Over the years we have hosted exhibitions, markets and fairs, dance, theatrical and musical performances, talks and presentations, town trails, field events, art, craft and educational workshops, and fun events for families and children. The School’s Calendar Project has also evolved. We now undertake painting workshops led by a professional artist in every class in the 12 participating primary schools, with over 2000 children taking part each year.
We warmly welcome any suggestions or offers to host events for inclusion in the 2024 Festival programme. However, it is important to emphasise that all our community led events are planned as low-cost/ free entry to enable access for all. If hire of a venue is required, we can fund costs and also pay workshop practitioners a fee of £50 per session plus costs of any materials required.