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Volunteers thinking big to give town artistic vibe

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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A Lincolnshire town will host a pioneering arts trail during February – as a £10,000 community festival turns Market Rasen into a 'living' art gallery.

Buildings and civic landmarks in Market Rasen will be adorned with artworks including paintings, drawings and etchings during the Plank 2013 celebrations.

They are being staged by the volunteers who have spent most of 2012 regenerating the town centre's trading scene as part of the Portas Town Pilot programme.

Following on from their successes with business renewals and the hugely popular 'pop-up' Saturday markets, the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group – known as Mr Big – secured a £10,000 Arts Council England grant.

It will pay for professionally-run creative workshops and the materials for artworks which will be exhibited in unusual places and public spaces.

Empty shops, the railway station which already has paintings adorning its edifice, the Market Place and high street shop windows will become a blaze of colour.

Pubs, cafes, schools and churches are all taking part in Plank 2013 Arts and Crafts Festival.

It is being organised by Mr Big's volunteer director of community, arts and culture Sarah Lamballe.

And it will be led by two other Market Rasen characters – established mixed media community artist Carol Parker and newcomer Seb van B.

"It is a celebration of Market Rasen's assets and qualities – namely our markets, racecourse, beautiful countryside, golf course, shops, woodland, biking and hiking routes, train station, heritage and architecture," Miss Lamballe said.

"The title derives from the Anglo Saxon word for the River Rase – meaning 'planks'!

"It also means 'bridge,' so it was the perfect name for a festival that will create links within the community and its rural hinterland.

"The festival aims to recognise the unique character of Market Rasen – friendly, traditional, rural, genuine, vibrant with great potential and a community spirit.

"Plank 2013 is an arts and crafts festival to raise awareness of the quality and quantity of arts practitioners in the county.

"It's an opportunity for established, as well as new emerging artists, to promote their work.

"We will work together to create a sustainable annual showcase for the arts in Lincolnshire and to put our county on the 'must see' list of festivals.

"We don't have to be big to be successful, we aim to be small but different, amazing, accessible and inclusive."

Seb van B said: "It's very exciting to be involved in the first Market Rasen Arts Festival.

"It was great meeting the other artists and people involved."

Carol Parker said: " I was so impressed by Market Rasen's imaginative Portas Pilot video that I applied to be part of their first Mr Big market and I'm now a lead artist for Plank 2013.

"I have never met such a determined, astute, positive, energetic and lovely group of people. It just goes to show what you can do if you aim high."

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