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With just over a week to go, the countdown has begun for the start of Isles of Scilly’s annual celebration of local artists and creative talent, Art Scilly, which takes place across the archipelago from 12th - 19th May.

This year, Art Scilly is supported by Creative Islands, one of 16 national Cultural Destinations projects funded by Arts Council England which aim to encourage partnerships between the cultural and visitor economies, thereby enabling culture to become a prominent part of the visitor offer.

The programme, which extends across all five of the inhabited islands, includes a wealth of intimate workshops in all media, expert tuition from local artists, open studios and gallery soirees. Headlining the festival and new for 2018 is an imaginative competition and exhibition curated by the Creative Islands team, “Paint the Day”, featuring local established art-ists, students, and budding, visiting artists.

Professionals, amateur enthusiasts, visitors and young people are all invited to sign up and produce an original artwork in any medium that records any aspect of Scilly on just one day - Saturday 12th May. All artworks must be completed within an eight-hour time slot, between 9am and 5pm, and will then be exhibited for free in a pop-up gallery on St. Mary's. Prizes will be awarded in three categories and all the work will be offered for sale, providing a unique souvenir of this amazing week.

Art Scilly also welcomes back to the islands Paul Dodgson, an eminent creative writer and TV producer who will host a fun, informal day-long Creative Writing Workshop to encourage all those wannabe writers to explore their inner author. He will also adjudicate the fringe St. Mary's One Act Play festival which returns for another often hilarious evening with local writers performing rehearsed readings from original scripts.

Throughout the week, there'll also be the usual masterclasses and workshops hosted by a variety of artists across the islands all using their preferred mediums - from watercolour with Stephen Morris and fused glass with Oriel Hicks, to acrylics with Liz Bray, linocut printmaking with Vickie Heaney, making of mandalas (Gail Payne) and silk scarves (Liz Askins), plus sketching with Sue Lewington and oil painting with Steve Sherris.

The island of St. Agnes will be hosting an arts afternoon at Pot Buoys Gallery, in the Island Hall and at the Church, Tresco Gallery will be showcasing the paintings and sculptures from various artists' winter residency on the island, whilst on St. Martin's there'll be a satellite Paint the Day featuring the school children.

David Jackson, Executive Director of the Islands' Partnership, says: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s Art Scilly festival and we’re delighted that our Creative Islands team, thanks to Arts Council England, has been able to support our local artists to offer even more on the programme this year. There is so much creative talent across the archipelago with artists attracted to Scilly for its sheer beauty, incredible colour contrasts, island heritage and stunning light. We hope that visitors coming to the islands for Art Scilly will be drawn to get involved and be inspired to take home some wonderful creations of their own.”

The full Art Scilly Programme can be viewed online at Printed programmes will also be available on island throughout the festival. For booking enquiries, particularly about Paint the Day, please contact the Tourist Information Centre on 01720 620600 or the Creative Islands team on 01720 620601.