Spray fiesta to add splash of colour
A festival which brings art out of the gallery and onto the street will return to Blackpool this summer for its fourth year.
And among the stars of this year’s Sand, Sea and Spray event will be ‘Banksy’ in the making four-year-old Charlie Willison-McDade.
Already more than 60 pieces of urban art adorn walls in the town centre overlooking car parks, pavements and alleyways.
This year 25 artists from around the world will converge on the resort for the three-day festival over the weekend of July 29 to 31 armed with spray paints.
Funding of £15,000 has been secured for the festival from the Arts Council, which although around half of what was approved last year, has ensured it can go ahead.
Charlie, of Layton, who goes to Tree Tops Nursery at Carlin Gate, is following in the footsteps of his parents Donna Willison and Phil McDade - whose urban art name is Famous 4:15.
Phil said: “Last year I painted a mural and Charlie painted a chicken as part of it and he really enjoyed it, so he’s going to take part again. I’m not sure what I’ll paint this year. Part of graffiti art is about making a statement so I might do something topical, perhaps about the NHS.
“One of my first pieces, back in the 1980s, was of a naked Ronald Reagan sitting on a cruise missile - but that didn’t last long before it was removed!
“I started with Sand, Sea and Spray as a volunteer three years ago and last year I was one of the artists for the first time and did the silver surfer on Palatine Road car park.”
The hub for the festival will be the Old Rock Factory on Deansgate which is already a hub for Blackpool’s burgeoning art scene.
David Hirst, of educational art charity Creative Arts and Futures which made the bid for the funding, said: “We haven’t got as much funding as previous years, but the festival will be as good if not better with more than in previous years, such as workshops for young people.
“It changes scruffy walls that probably will get graffitied into beautiful pieces of art.
“Blackpool has more urban art than anywhere else in the country.”
Robin Ross, who founded the festival, added: “Artists are now using walls whereas they used canvases in the past and so they are getting to the public.
“It is nice to see we in Blackpool are rated as one of the best in Europe.”
Venues already confirmed for artworks include the rear of Charnley Road car park, walls on Blackpool’s old Syndicate site and spaces on the Winter Gardens complex.