The Brighton Festival - 7th-29th May 2011

For all who live in or near the wonderful Sussex seaside city of Brighton and Hove, the Brighton Festival has become a key feature of the Summer calendar. There are a wonderful range of family friendly events and activities, concerts, talks and workshops, all set in motion by the fabulous street parade of school children in fancy dress which takes place on Saturday 1st May.

To find out more, go to the Festival homepage. With a personal message of support from Aung San Suu Kyi, this year's Brighton Festival is going to get off to a brilliant start. There is a full programme of great activities and events.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Art in Ditchling
An increasing number of our friends in Ditchling are involved in the Artists' Open Houses section of the Brighton Festival. Some are professional artists, while others are keen and extremely talented amateurs. Together they ensure that Ditchling's tradition as a community of Artists and Craftsmen is vibrant.

This year in Ditchling, 15 venues will be open as part of the Brighton Artists' Open Houses programme, involving the work of many local artists, jewellers and silversmiths, potters and sculptors.

We attended the Open Evening at several of the Artists' Open Houses in Ditchling on Friday. At Turner Dumbrells Workshops, North End, the two studios which really stood out for us were Becky Bloomfield's and Bernadina Lloyd's. Becky's work includes beautiful screen prints of Sussex landscapes, sheep and cattle, and unusual wire and tin sculptures. Bernadina's exquisite craftwork is exceptionally fine and detailed; her paintings of the stunning landscapes of the Sussex South Downs, are particularly lovely.

Closer to the heart of the village, a group of four Ditchling women artists, known as 'Easelles', is being exhibited in a house at the top of the High Street. Vivid colours, paintings evocative of Bloomsbury Artists, and some wonderful still life studies combine to create a powerful exhibition in two rooms of this well-lit and airy space.

Each year, we invariably feel intensely frustrated as we cannot possibly go to all the amazing discussions, concerts and other events that we'd love to attend. Early selection is essential to avoid disappointment.

I particularly enjoy the discussions and workshops held as part of the Charleston Festival, (which runs during the last week of May) but they are especially popular, so this year I decided to become a Friend of Charleston.

Brighton Festival Homepage

Charleston Festival

Art in Ditchling

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