Community art festival takes flight...
The Lee Festival of the Arts kicked off last Friday with the nine-day event showing off what the area has to offer.
Throughout the week, residents from Lee-on-the-Solent have been attending music evenings, looking at art exhibitions and watching performances.
The festival has held a number of workshops for people to discover their creative side.
About 100 people attended the launch evening at St Faith’s Church which had art from the Lee-on-the-Solent Art Group and the Lowry Group on display.
Television presenter Alistair Appleton, who lived in Lee-on-the-Solent when he was a child, officially opened the festival.
He says: ‘We can take our hats off to the steering group that helped organise the festival.
‘Growing up in Lee-on-the-Solent was very important to me. It was so great for me as an artistic influence.
‘There really is a lot of visual arts on offer in the area and I was very impressed to see how many events have been held for the festival.
‘There is lots of wonderful music, visual arts and art pieces on display.
‘It is lovely to see all the art at the church.
‘Hopefully people will be inspired as I was inspired to take part in the arts.’
Lots of businesses, organisations and schools have got involved in the festival.
Children at Lee Infant School created a mural which forms part of the art trail along High Street.
Shop windows have been transformed with artwork giving people the chance to see the pieces while out shopping.
People in the area have welcomed the festival and have praised the organisers for putting it on.
Jean Headley, from Lee-on-the-Solent, says: ‘It’s wonderful to have this and it is a way to share what artistic talents we have in Lee.
‘Everyone has been talking about it and either doing art or seeing art is a way to lift the spirits.
‘There has been lots to enjoy in the past few days from music to drama.
‘I especially enjoyed the music, it’s been wonderful.
‘We want people to come and enjoy all the events on offer.’
Angie Dickens and Annie Gibbons, from Lee-on-the-Solent, are part of the Lowry Art Group.
They attended the launch of the festival which showcased some of their pictures.
Angie says: ‘It is brilliant for the community to know what sort of arts are on offer in Lee-on-the-Solent.
‘We have so much fun at the Lowry Group and this week has given us the chance to tell people about us and share what we do. It has been nice meeting people at different events and going out with neighbours to different shows.’
Annie adds: ‘There is so much laughter at art groups and hopefully the festival will show it isn’t all serious. Art is a great way to spend time and this festival is brilliant for showcasing it.’
The organisers have been preparing for the show for the last few months.
They wanted to create an event which people can enjoy but also take part in by submitting their art for shows or going along to a workshop.
Gillian Ashby is secretary of the committee which set up the festival.
She says the idea came about after both the Lowry Group and the Lee-on-the-Solent Art Group held a joint exhibition at St Faith’s Church.
It was so successful members suggested doing it again but this time incorporating all forms of the arts.
Gillian says: ‘Our member Jean suggested to one of the councillors that it would be a good idea to hold a week-long event dedicated to the arts we have in Lee.
‘That’s where the idea for the festival began. A lot of people helped plan it including both art groups, the church, Lee Residents’ Association so it has taken everyone to put it on.
‘We have had people from all over the place visit the exhibitions and take part in the workshops which is really great to see.
‘That was the idea behind the festival – to show people what we have to offer in Lee and what talents some of the residents have.
‘The amount of support we’ve had is very encouraging. Hopefully this can become an annual event but we would have to wait and see.’
For more information on the festival which runs until Saturday visit