SCARBOROUGH’S newest landmark is set to take centre stage as part of a weekend-long celebration of the towns artistic elite.
Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers will be one of five sculptures from acclaimed artist Ray Lonsdale on display at the three-day festival at the towns Old Boatyard in Sandside.
The statue, acquired on behalf of Scarborough by resident Maureen Robinson, will be moved from its current home in the North Bay especially for the event, which kicks off tonight with a special preview, before opening up to the public until Sunday.
There will be displays and stands from some of the 23 galleries across the borough, as well as a competition for students, which will be judged by critically acclaimed artist Clive Head.
The festival has the backing of Welcome to Yorkshire area director, Janet Deacon, who believes it will be another shot in the arm for tourism.
“It’s really encouraging to see Scarborough’s art community pulling together and I’m thrilled the ‘Freddie’ sculpture, which will now in remain in the town thanks to the amazing generosity of Mrs Robinson, will be at the festival.
“Hundreds of people have already been photographed with this wonderful sculpture and through social media those images have been seen around the world, which is an incredible advert for Scarborough.”
ArtsBank Gallery manager Debbie Cockerill, who has helped bring ‘Freddie’ to Scarborough added: “It’s a great showcase for talent, and there’s no denying that Scarborough is one of the best places in the country for art at the moment, along with other towns in the North.
“I think it can be attributed to the coastline and scenery, it’s just inspirational.”
Festival organiser Ken Wood, who is based at The Arts Workshops in Crown Arcade, Albion Road, said: “The main idea of the festival is to showcase the breadth of artistic talent we have in the Scarborough area and bring together the town’s art community for one shared purpose.
“It’s shaping up to be a brilliant festival and I would encourage people from Scarborough and from further afield to pay us a visit.”
Entry is free, and there’s approximately 500 hundred free car-parking spaces on Marine Drive for visitors.