Events Walthamstow

All aboard the art trail

The iconic E17 Art Trail is finally back this year. The festival’s organisers and artists tell us what to expect come June…

By Marco Marcelline

Veronica Lindsay-Addy posing with her artwork in the 2021 Art Trail. Credit: Jane Sharp

This year marks the much-awaited return of the E17 Art Trail, which will see Walthamstow’s streets, homes, gardens, community and faith spaces, shops, cafés and restaurants come alive with art.

Speaking to the Echo, festival co-producer Laura Kerry, emphasised the inclusive goals of the festival. “We’ve created a framework so people can participate on their terms, so you can do a small one-day thing or turn your venue into a mini-festival in itself and collaborate with as many artists or venues as you choose, or you can do something as immediate as putting your kids’ artwork on your window.”

Children’s author Kweku Ackom-Mensah participated in the most recent edition of the festival in 2021, and is on the participating board for the 2024 trail.

He took part after seeing posters for the fair when he moved to Walthamstow some years ago, and ended up doing live readings of his children’s book at Gnome House. Kweku says he was blown away by the community and support shown during the festival: “I’m from Sheffield and northerners tend to be more friendly than Londoners, but nowhere else in London have I experienced that kind of community.”

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

Kweku reading at Gnome House at the 2021 Art Trail, Credit: Jemima Duncalf

This year also marks the first time the programme and map of participating venues will be available on a free mobile app facilitated by Artillery’s partnership with Bloomberg. Kweku said he was “really excited to see how this top of the line piece of technology will be used by all these creatives to make something special”.

Morag McGuire, Artillery’s co-director, said the return of the Art Trail was “really fantastic” given the struggles it had experienced. “Previously we went through the really sad process of having to register the festival under the [Mayor of London’s] Culture at Risk register”, she added.

“The whole [arts] sector is feeling nervous at the moment in terms of how we make sure we’re able to deliver great cultural opportunities for everyone in our neighbourhoods. The Art Trail has a great track record of supporting emerging artists and neighbours as well, it’s been instrumental in bringing neighbours together and showcasing the amazing talents they have.”

She added: “I’m really looking forward to June when suddenly there will be an explosion of art and possibilities in Walthamstow.”

Anyone can register to take part in the E17 Art Trail before 1st April. Visit this website

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