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Splashes of colour will adorn high street for popular festival’s return

PUBLISHED: 18:09 05 September 2016 | UPDATED: 18:29 05 September 2016

Field of dreams: members of Art Group Wanstead outside the overgrown Evergreen Field, the focus of some of the workshops during the Trail, carrying artwork by Ron Filer and Ron Bowman which will be going outside Allan Burgess House, used by Age UK.

Field of dreams: members of Art Group Wanstead outside the overgrown Evergreen Field, the focus of some of the workshops during the Trail, carrying artwork by Ron Filer and Ron Bowman which will be going outside Allan Burgess House, used by Age UK.

Kim Judge

Many of us dream about living in a friendly, cultural hub, with brightly coloured artwork in windows and perhaps even workshops so we can all discover our inner artist.

Lego artist Lee McGinty's replica of Selfridges will be on display as part of this year's Art Trail Wanstead.Lego artist Lee McGinty's replica of Selfridges will be on display as part of this year's Art Trail Wanstead.

For 16 days this month, that is exactly what the people of Wanstead will be able to enjoy, as the seventh annual Art Trail Wanstead brings an explosion of colour to the high street.

This year, the festival is inspired by the works of David Bowie, after the icon passed away in January, and is officially themed “Ch-Ch-Changes: Turn and Face the Strange”.

Donna Mizzi founded the trail seven years ago and revealed that picking this year’s theme was a simple matter.

“When we sat down to start thinking about what we wanted this year’s theme to be, David Bowie had just died and was everywhere,” she said.

“We also knew we wanted a very wide open theme that could be interpreted in a number of ways, and ‘changes’ seemed exactly right for us.

“We also wanted something that could apply to the year’s biggest news story, the refugee crisis, and how much their lives are changing at the moment as they go through their own massive upheaval.

“Hopefully some of the art on display might touch upon that.”

Donna was also quick to praise all this year’s artists for the work they’ve put in.

“It’s been great to see so many people want to get involved,” she said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get professional artists to exhibit alongside amateurs, but everyone’s been very supportive.”

Art Trail co-ordinator Kim Judge shares Donna’s enthusiasm for the project.

She told the Recorder: “We want to make trips to our high street more fascinating for local people and to visitors from further afield.

“It’s a wonderful thrill for amateur artists to show their art in public for the first time and we also have experienced and professional artists taking part. This is a fabulous community event.”

Among the many attractions on offer in shops, pubs and cafes all along the high street are nudes at the Majestic Wine Warehouse, a wide variety of different exhibits in the Manor House and a photography show in Nightingale Lane’s Eightyfour gallery.

But one of the trail’s most impressive exhibits comes from artist Lee McGinty, who uses nothing but Lego to create impressive artwork.

His specially put together window display, which will be on show in Devonsbrook Bathrooms, Hermon Hill, includes an amazing lego sculpture of Selfridges, which is sure to wow the crowds.

Lee welcomed this year’s theme, and said he and his group, London Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL), were more than happy to create a host of new models, which he felt would reflect the trail’s theme of change.

“I am very much looking forward to taking part in the festival,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for a larger audience to be inspired by our work and realise that Lego can be as good a material for art as oil paints are.”

However, Lee’s involvement with the trail doesn’t stop at merely providing an exhibition.

London AFOLs will also be inviting residents to get involved and make their own brickwork art at a stall at the Wanstead Festival on September 18.

“As well as the large model of Selfridges, we’ll also be running a Lego-building event at the Wanstead Festival,” said Lee.

“The idea being that families can really buy into the Art Trail’s theme, change our bricks into something amazing and put their creations on display all day.”

Visit artgroupwanstead.com.


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