We Shine Portsmouth light festival visited more than 80,000 times with calls to make it a recurring event

THE city’s first festival of light has been hailed a roaring success as it reveals its number of visits – and work is underway that could see it return next year.

We Shine Portsmouth, which ran from Thursday to Saturday, saw more than 80,000 visits made to light and art installations across the city.

Installations included ‘The Ship Of The Gods’, a 3D projection of a giant ship in St Mary’s Church, Fratton, and ‘The Rainbow In The Dark’, a nighttime rainbow created using mist sprays in Victoria Park.

A spokesman from Portsmouth Creates, the volunteer-led arts group who organised the event, said: ‘We are utterly delighted by the response to the event and the feedback. The people of Portsmouth came out in their thousands to enjoy the incredible art pieces.

People enjoy the Rainbow in the Dark light installation in Portsmouth as part of the We Shine Portsmouth light Festival. Picture: Ben Mitchell/PA Wire

‘To see families out together having fun, from every corner of the city, so many of whom wouldn’t normally feel that a culture festival would be for them, was just incredible. They are the reason we have worked so hard and invested so much, to put this event on.

‘This pilot just proves that great things happen when the city’s artists, communities and organisations collaborate.’

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Portsmouth Creates is asking for feedback from visitors, with the possibility of the event returning next year.

The Ship Of The Gods, by artists Heinrich and Palmer, was staged at St Mary's Church, Fratton, as part of the We Shine Portsmouth festival.

The arts group spokesman added: ‘We hope we can make this a more permanent fixture with even more partners participating and more communities getting involved and working together in the future.

‘We are so grateful to all those who supported us especially Portsmouth City Council and Arts Council England without whom it simply wouldn’t have been possible.’

The council hopes to make arts festivals like We Shine Portsmouth ‘a more regular fixture in the city, according to Portsmouth City Councillor Ben Dowling, cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development.

Cllr Dowling said: ‘I want to congratulate Portsmouth Creates and all their partners on an amazingly successful We Shine festival. This breakthrough initiative shows what can be created when collaboration, catalysed by passion, energy, and a little bit of funding are brought together by an innovative social enterprise like Portsmouth Creates.

‘It was wonderful to see so many people from every corner and community of the city enjoying art and culture with no barriers.

‘As a council, we were delighted to have supported the project and we look forward to working with Portsmouth Creates in the future, along with an even wider group of stakeholders and communities, to make such festivals a more regular fixture in the city.’

Anyone wishing to offer their feedback on the event can do so at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WeShinePortsmouth2021.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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