Artwave festival across Lewes district defies pandemic to dazzle art lovers

The annual Artwave festival showcasing the cream of creative talent across Lewes district opens on Saturday (September 5) and runs until Sunday, September 20.  

Art lovers will be able to enjoy visiting 85 different venues to discover new work, meet artists and makers, and buy directly from them.  

Due to Covid-19, no private homes will be open this year with artists displaying their work in a variety of indoor and outdoor public spaces. Measures have been put in place to ensure all visits are safe and people are asked to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines including wearing a face covering if visiting an indoor exhibition.  

Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, Cabinet member for Tourism and Devolution, said: “Organising Artwave has been challenging this year due to Covid-19 but we are delighted to be continuing with this annual extravaganza of creativity, to support our fantastic local artists and makers. Once again it will be a real attraction for visitors and local residents alike. 

“To ensure safety, our 27th Artwave is a smaller festival than previous years but as always the quality of workmanship is very high and the breadth of talent is wide. Being able to meet the artists themselves brings a unique dimension to each exhibition and I encourage people to get online and plan their visit so they can appreciate the great creative talents we nurture in our district.” 

Artwave has worked with Visit Lewes to arrange for cafes and shops to show artworks and encourage people to return to the High Street following lockdown.  

Indeed, some artists have taken inspiration from lockdown for their work such as Emma Carlow (artwavefestival.org/2020venues/Emma-carlow) who said: “Preparing for Artwave this year has been a brilliant coping mechanism over the past few months. It’s been great to have something to focus on that is going to happen outside of lockdown.”  

Others include Keith Pettit (artwavefestival.org/2020venues/keith-pettit), Leigh Hodgkinson (artwavefestival.org/2020venues/wonky-town and Jason Tremlett (artwavefestival.org/2020venues/jason-tremlett).  

Visitors can follow trails around Newhaven, Seaford, Lewes or trace a route through rural district villages.  

There is no need to pre-book and all visits are free.  

For full details including a list of all venues, maps and opening times, along with Covid-19 guidance for visitors, please visit artwavefestival.org 

There is no printed guide this year, with all information now online. The teams in the Lewes and Seaford Tourist Information Centre will be able to help anyone who does not have access to the internet.