Aylsham Ahoy! Join in ‘Dazzling’ arts project that will set town alight AND afloat…

Spectacular installation on medieval fish-ponds will be a highlight of Aylsham Festival – everyone can sponsor a lantern featuring their own home

An inspirational art project in Aylsham is calling on local people to sponsor a lantern and get their property in the frame – or in the pond!  Called Aylsham Afloat, the project will culminate in an exhibition and a spectacular display of floating lanterns, featuring pictures of Aylsham properties drawn by local people, on the medieval fish ponds in the gardens of Burgh House, during this year’s Aylsham Wide Sky Festival (22nd - 26th May). 

Organised jointly by Aylsham High School (AHS) and the Aylsham Festival, the project is supervised by local artist Jessica Perry. 

“We are inviting people to get drawing and ‘Sponsor a Lantern’ for £3.00,” explains Jess.  “It's open to all ages, with proceeds going to the Aylsham Festival.

“Aylsham Afloat is the chance for everyone to get involved in a community arts project that will be dramatic, extravagant and dazzling.” 

In return for the £3.00, sponsors get an Aylsham Afloat kit, which includes the bag (or lantern) and full instructions.  It is available from a variety of outlets in Aylsham, including Aylsham Library, Coxfords Butchers, Bure Valley School and Woodgate Nursery. 

“All you need to do is draw the front of your home on the paper bag provided and return it to Aylsham High School by the deadline of 10am, on Monday April 13th,” says Jess.  “Use felt tips, biros or crayons. Draw it from the bottom right up to the roof and, if you want, add drawings of the people who live in the house too.” 

All the bags, along with others made by AHS students featuring Aylsham’s shops and businesses, will be waterproofed.  Once that’s done, they’ll be floated at night on the school’s swimming pool, with pictures and film footage being taken by local professional photographer Debby Besford, working with AHS students. 

The photographs will be on exhibition in the Town Hall during the Aylsham Festival, and available for sale as cards and prints. 

The lanterns will then be re-floated on Burgh House’s medieval fish ponds during the Aylsham Wide Sky Festival as part of the Art of the Garden event, when visitors will have the opportunity to take part in guided tours of the gardens.  

“This is a really exciting arts project,” says Helen Homewood, Head of Art at AHS.  “We have already had a trial run, floating lanterns illustrated by students on the pool, and the results were brilliant.” 

Sue Sharpe of the Aylsham Festival says, “What is really fantastic about this project is the way so many people and organisations are working together to make it happen.  It’s a true community event.  And as an art installation, it’s going to be amazing.” 

The Art of the Garden walks take place at Burgh House, Burgh Road, Aylsham, on Saturday 23rd May and Monday 25th May.  Tickets are £2.50 with all proceeds to the festival.  For more information visit www.aylshamfestival.co.uk or call the festival box office on 01263 733441.   Numbers are strictly limited, so booking will be essential. 

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More information:

Aylsham Festival: sue.sharpe@aylshamfestival.co.uk / 07796 519987

Jessica Perry: jessica531@btinternet.com / 07502 368 715

The Publicity Works: teaboy@publicityworks.biz / 01263 761000


please contact Jessica Perry. It will not be open to the public, but you would be welcome to come to take pictures, film, etc.

It will take place on Tuesday April 14, from 7.30pm.

Aylsham Afloat has been devised as a collaboration across the Aylsham community, in support of the Aylsham Festival. Thanks and appreciation go to Jessica Perry (artist and project originator), Debby Besford (photographer), Helen Homewood (head of art at AHS), Sue Sharpe (Aylsham Festival), Richard and Maureen Burr (Burgh House garden hosts), The Publicity Works, Broadland District Council and the staff and students at Aylsham High School.


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