Wednesday, 16 June 2021 09:27

Multi-award-winning Dorset Arts Festival returns this summer

Multi-award-winning Dorset Arts Festival returns this summer

Following the sell-out success of last year’s inaugural event Sculpture by the Lakes is launching Dorset Arts Festival 2021, which will extend over five days from 30 June to 4 July 2021, with up to 60 incredible artists exhibiting and demonstrating their work.

This outdoor event brings together the very best artists and makers from across Dorset taking full advantage of the sculpture park’s stunning 26-acres lakes, woodland, and gardens, nestled in the countryside just east of Dorchester.

And while arts lovers can never normally expect to see 60 galleries in one day, at the Dorset Arts Festival they can, with works of art from pottery to jewellery, sculpture to textiles, exhibited and available to buy. Visitors can also get a rare insight into how these artists create their work, with all exhibitors demonstrating their skills and techniques live.

Simon Gudgeon, acclaimed sculptor and founder of Sculpture by the Lakes and the Dorset Arts Festival said, “Last year’s Dorset Arts Festival was an incredibly joyous event which seemed to capture the imagination and mood of so many people as we emerged from the first lockdown. We were proud to be one of the only large-scale festivals to safely go ahead, as hundreds across the country were cancelled, and see the event recognised with three prestigious awards. This year, as we emerge from hopefully the last lockdown, we’re offering something even more exciting and we expect that jubilant atmosphere to return tenfold!”

Visitors will be able to watch as paintings are created, pots are thrown, jewellery is made and a whole range of other arts and crafts disciplines are demonstrated with exhibitors spread across an even larger area of the sculpture park, where more than 30 of Simon’s large-scale sculptures are installed. There will also be sculptures by more than 20 other artists on display around the park – a new addition for this year’s event.

And as well as feasting their eye, visitors will be able to choose from a range of takeaway food options, from coffees to paella, as well as range of delicious choices at the park’s own Café by the Lakes.

Adds Simon, “Our aim is to make the whole festival about seeing artists and crafters demonstrate their skills and exhibit their work so you can see and understand the process. Artists’ creative processes, their exquisite skills, imagination, and talent, are endlessly fascinating – including for me, as an artist myself. This event is all about celebrating beauty and creativity in a relaxed and informal way. People have that rare chance to experience an incredible range of art forms and styles and to take their time as they watch demonstrations and tour the park. It’s a glorious way to spend time!”

As in 2020, the event is being run with Covid safety in mind with ticket numbers capped each day and sold in advance and exhibits spaced across a wide area to support social distancing.

The event is open from June 30 - July 4 from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm. Tickets are available now for £12.50 - the same cost as standard entry to the park. No Children under 14 or dogs can be permitted.

To find out more, or to book tickets to Dorset Arts Festival, visit:

•  See 30 photos from the Dorset Arts Festival 2020