Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury community urged to dig deep to support town's struggling arts trail

Salopians have been urged to show their support for a popular Shropshire arts trail, as rising costs eat up the contingency budget.

At Shrewsbury Castle ahead of the festival are, from left: Jess Richards, Phil Langstaff and Jonathan Soden

The Shrewsbury Arts Trail is a key event in the town's annual calendar, showcasing the work of local artists as well as household names such as Salvador Dali and Damien Hirst.

Coming into its third year this year, organisers are hoping to make it bigger than ever – with more art, venues, organisations, workshops and events involved.

But in order to facilitate the event, Shrewsbury Arts Trail is in need of £5,000 in donations to put towards its contingency, which is an essential part of their trail budget.

Organisers say they have been feeling the pressure of rising costs, which have eaten up the entirety of the trail's contingency before the event has even started.

Events and exhibitions are planned from late June through to early September.

A contingency is money set aside for an event or project, which covers emergencies or unexpected costs.

Jessica Richards, organiser of the arts trail, said: "The money will all be going into a big pot to make it all happen, so when anyone donates something – no matter how small – it all goes towards the trail.

"We are doing it (the trail) for both artists and for the love of our community. It's the footfall that we bring in as well, it's not just the art organisations that benefit. This pulls them around businesses in the town."

A JustGiving page has been set up by Jessica where people can make a donation, with 1,487 already raised for this year's event.

The theme for this year is ‘Movement’, chosen to mark the 350th anniversary of Shrewsbury-born creative, John Weaver, the father of English ballet and pantomime.

Following on from the success of the Andrew Logan Sculpture Trail last year, which was enjoyed by thousands of visitors, this year will feature works by Salvador Dalí, loaned by The Dalí Universe AlP S.L, and Jacob Chandler.

Not only that but artwork by Banksy, Barbara Hepworth and Pablo Picasso, will be on display.

The sculpture trail, supported by Shrewsbury BID, will see Dalí`s famous five-metre tall ‘Surrealist Piano’ (1954) displayed outside Shrewsbury Castle.

The impressive ‘Homage to Terpsichore’ sculpture (conceived in 1977), depicts the Greek muse of dance and chorus. It will probably be on view in the courtyard at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Moving such prestigious sculptures to Shrewsbury involves more than a bit of red tape – there are questions of insurance and Jess has to find art installers and import brokers, not to mention a huge crane.

There will be exhibitions across multiple venues including shopping centres, the town museum, coffee shops, art galleries and churches – and even the town park.

"There's so many amazing, talented creatives in Shrewsbury and Shropshire – and it's not just the artists, but the art lovers as well," Jessica added.

"The concept of the arts trail came about in lockdown when we were shut away in our houses and there was a big focus on picking up a craft or trying something at home.

"One aim for me is to make Shrewsbury a known destination for art and that's why I want to hit the nationals to show everyone what art is available to see in Shrewsbury."

To make a donation to the Shrewsbury Arts Trail, visit