Porthleven Arts Festival
The Porthleven Arts Community’s annual celebration of art in all its forms, from dance and drama to painting and film. It's taking place at venues across Porthleven from Saturday 24 September to Sunday 2 October. It’s about community, about participation and, most importantly, about celebrating art in all its many and diverse forms.
Created and curated by Porthleven Arts Community, this year the Festival includes a Meet the Maker element, giving the public the chance to meet artists around Porthleven in their studio environments.
Makers taking part include ceramicist Jake Boex, who’ll open the doors of his studio on The Gue to share his love of creating wheel-thrown ceramics inspired by a life lived in and around the sea.
There’s also a chance to peek inside Porthleven’s famous Bickford Smith Institute, where local writer and Porthleven mermaid Suzie Inman will be offering Meet the Maker opportunities with different artists each day, beginning with a two-day installation by Maxine Greer who lives and works in Porthleven and has exhibited in numerous shows in the UK and internationally. Maxine was awarded the People’s Choice Award at Peterborough Museum for her ‘Flock’, an installation of over 200 paper sparrows, which she will showcase at the Porthleven event.
Festival Director Alec Short said, “There’s a real artist community in Porthleven that we don’t always see. We’re creating a map that will allow visitors to create their own walking tour around the galleries and art-related businesses of Porthleven, as well as visit our local artists in their studios and the events taking place as part of the Festival.”
The week of events will also feature exhibitions in surprising spaces, including Origins: The Porthleven Prize, in the Breageside Netloft. The Porthleven Prize offers students from Bath Spa University and Falmouth University the rare opportunity to work collaboratively and learn from each other, and to produce work for a touring exhibition of creative work, seeking inspiration form Porthleven.
After an initial residency with 20 students, 5 students from each university were chosen for a fully funded residency based in Porthleven where they responded to the landscape and the idea of provenance, working with each other and individually to produce a body of work across different disciplines. This exhibition showcases their work.
There will also be a chance to check out Porthleven’s newest sculpture, Waiting for Fish by Holly Bendall which will be installed on the pill box near to the Old Lifeboat House. In May £20,000 was successfully raised via Crowdfunder to install this life-sized sculpture, cast in bronze as a permanent, free and accessible public sculpture for the local community and visitors.
In the evenings a programme of films in a pop up cinema at the Netloft will include Into the Night, documenting the Penlee Lifeboat disaster; Tin by Miracle Theatre, followed by a Q and A by director Bill Soctt, and surf film The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez. Short concerts by Porthleven based musicians Rosie Crow and Ola Loco will follow the showings, as well as Porthleven’s first pop up Silent Disco nightclub.
The evening music programme will be enhanced at St Bartholemew’s Church with concert performances by Force Five Word Quartet, Soprano Evelyn Strasburger and the return of local sea shanty favourites Bryher’s Boys.
Businesses across the town are getting involved too, with The Atlantic Inn showcasing art by locals and regulars, the Albatross Gallery featuring an exhibition of paintings by watercolourist Sophie Penstone, tours of The Shoals Brewery and lots of artistic activity, including a specially themed emerging artist wall, in The Shipyard Market.
The Shipyard Market will also be the focus on the morning of Mermaid Day on Sunday September 25th when a mermaid grotto will offer storytelling, crafting and meet and greet opportunities with a host of merfolk from across Cornwall and the South West. Porthleven’s Raft Race will take place at 2:30pm and then at 5pm the mermaids will swim out into the harbour.
The week will finish with a very special edition of local vintage clothing event Sundowner Vibes and Vintage Finds on Sunday 2 October, bringing upcycling and vintage workshops as well as lots of sustainable shopping opportunities.
Visit porthlevenartsfestival.com to find out more and for the full programme.
The event has been made possible this year by a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.