Search is on to find artists to decorate city shops

Daniel Brine is looking for local artists and businesses to partner up to celebrate 250 years of the city's festival.

Daniel Brine, of Norfolk and Norwich Festival (inset), has been part of the team which has seen the People's Tower put up in the past. - Credit: Poppy Hanton

The hunt is on to find artists who will splash colour across the city's high street as part of a landmark festival. 

The Norfolk and Norwich festival will celebrate its 250th year this spring.

And Daniel Brine, artistic director and chief executive of the event, along with Ailsa McKay, production and program officer, have come up with a plan for the occasion.

Daniel said: "The festival is 250 years old this year so we were thinking about a range of events we could do to mark the occasion.

The People's Tower - a highlight of previous Norfolk and Norwich festivals.

The People's Tower - a highlight of previous Norfolk and Norwich festivals. - Credit: Chris Taylor Photo

"When we thought about what traditions we could draw from past events we knew shops used to put garlands in their windows and decorate their stores to celebrate the upcoming festival.

"So we are calling on artists to be a part of the festival once again."

All in all the project is looking for 10 local businesses to help spread the message with art covering their stores.

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He added: "So far we are delighted to be working with Thorns DIY, Rainbow Wholefoods, The Book Hive, Elm and Bookbugs and Dragon Tales. 

"The project is a collaboration between business owners that make up Norwich’s unique and characterful city centre and artists who make Norwich’s arts scene so dynamic and varied. 

Daniel Brine, Norfolk and Norwich Festival artistic director.

Daniel Brine, Norfolk and Norwich Festival artistic director. - Credit: Hugo Glendinning

"Both small business owners and freelance artists have been hard hit by Covid and we are keen that the project facilitates working relationships between these two groups."

He added: "We are looking for window displays that both dress and address the city. ‘Dress the city’ means creating something visually interesting and exciting in the city, generating a buzz for shoppers, eaters and drinkers.

"And ‘addressing the city’ asks the question of what does the artist, and the business, want to say to the people of Norwich?

All in all the project is looking for 10 local businesses to help spread simple messages, with art covering their stores.

All in all the project is looking for 10 local businesses to help spread simple messages, with art covering their stores. - Credit: Chris Taylor Photo

"This could be anything - whether it be a fun or serious message."

The partnerships will be decided around the end of the month - with the festival taking place between May 13 to 29.

For more details visit the festival website.

History of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival

Daniel gave some insight into the festival's history.

He said: "The Norfolk and Norwich Festival was founded in 1772.  

"It was started as a fundraiser for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and quickly grew - by 1788 it was a four-day grand music festival.  

A tight rope walker performing at a previous festival.

A tight rope walker performing at a previous festival. - Credit: JMA Photography

"In 1824 it became the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial, which ran for over 100 years and famously included new works by Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and many other important composers.  

"The festival then became an annual event in 1989 and expanded to include a whole range of art forms.

"Today the festival is one of the oldest and largest in the UK and takes place every year in Norwich and across Norfolk.  

"There is always something for everyone to explore and get involved with from classical music, through new performance in unusual venues, to free family fun days."