Plymouth Art Weekender 2016

The UK’s largest art weekender festival is back in Plymouth between 23 – 25 September 2016

Plymouth Art Weekender Online

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Plymouth Art Weekender (PAW), an ambitious three-day event celebrating the arts across the city, will take place between Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September. Following a successful 2015 event the Weekender will take over the city and promote Plymouth as a contemporary art destination that promotes participation in a wide range of exhibitions and exciting activities for all ages.

Following an open call for ideas, over 50 events feature local, national, and international artists including Douglas Gordon, Myriam Lefkowitz, Jock Mooney, Katya Sander, Low Profile and a public art commission by art collective, Reactor. Exhibitions, talks, music, film, workshops, and performance will be staged across Plymouth, taking over galleries, houses, empty spaces, connecting communities together across the city.

Last year’s event was an unanticipated success – instead of the 30 artists we had originally planned for, over 400 artists were involved across 86 exhibitions and events. Local and regional artists were billed alongside international headline acts such as Gerhard Richter (the world’s most expensive living artist), resulting in a vibrant mix of outlooks, projects and exhibitions. This year we are going to keep the same energy, passion and connectedness running across Plymouth, bringing excellent art to places and venues old and new across the city.

One of the PAW’s strongest points is linking up with other festivals and activity across Plymouth, and this year we are really pleased to once again be supporting and complementing the famous Union Street Party (Sunday 25th September) and the launch of the city’s Public Art Plan and Visual Art Plan (Friday 23rd September). We will have events across Devonport, Stonehouse, the Hoe, Plymouth City Centre and the Barbican.

Reactor’s commission ‘The Gold Ones’ for the city centre

Jock Mooney at Ocean Studios

Turner Prize Winner Douglas Gordon, Self Portrait of You + Me (David Bowie), 2007. Burnt photographic print, smoke and mirror (© Studio lost but found / DACS 2016) at Peninsula Arts

PAW prides itself on being open to all and includes artists, school children, wrestlers, church congregations, orchestras, parades and street parties. The Weekender events can be navigated through the free Art Weekender map, available from galleries, shops and libraries across Plymouth from 9th September, as well as online at

This year’s public art commission is by Nottingham based art collective, Reactor. Following an open call for expressions of interest which brought in over 50 local, national and international submissions, Reactor were chosen to deliver a highly visual impact in the city centre that engaged and entertains a very wide and diverse audience. Look out for a large robotic head on Armada Way.

Bristol-based producers Situations and Plymouth’s Barbican Theatre have commissioned French artist Myriam Lefkowitz to bring her captivating performance Walk, Hands, Eyes to Plymouth. A renowned choreographer and artist, Lefkowitz has devised this one-to-one exploration especially for Plymouth Art Weekender, where you are led around parts of the city by a guide, but with your eyes closed (more on this artwork on page 10).

The Weekender is a great opportunity to see inside open studios, people’s homes, be part of a larger community and visit venues you didn’t know existed. New venues for 2016 include the Athanaeum which will be host to performances of Café Concrete, Imperfect Orchestra as well as being one of the Weekender’s many information hubs.

Gordon Dalton, PAW Co-ordinator, says, “The Weekender is all about curiosity and surprise, from seeing and doing new things, taking part in something you didn’t know existed or exploring the nooks and crannies of Plymouth. The Weekender, and the many varied artists, venues and events allow you to see Plymouth afresh. Get involved and play a part in making the Weekender another success.”

To find out exactly what’s going on at PAW 2016, head to our website at and discover all about this amazing art festival. The Plymouth Art Weekender is produced by Visual Arts Plymouth, a diverse group of volunteers who represent visual arts organisations, communities and artists from across the city.