The Newry 2020 Hill Street Festival of Windows is in its fourth year and is growing from strength to strength.

Beginning this Saturday 10 June and continuing to 17 June the event involves placing a piece of art in as many windows on Hill Street as possible. On Saturday 1o from 10am to 6pm at the Event Space,Marcus Square artist Conor McKinley will be painting live and street art from Dermot McConaghy, Jonny McKerr and Friz will be on display.

This year the art is from a diverse range of artists. Garry McElherron Festival Co-Ordinator explains this year the event will be further enhanced by art being brought right into the street with top Irish Street artists, such as Dermot McConaghy, Jonny McKerr and Friz. "We will be showing off some amazing artwork presented in an unusual way for one day only in Marcus Square on Saturday 10th June from 10am to 6pm with Conor McGinley painting live in the square and showing members of the public how to use a spray can."

The event is sponsored by Newry. Mourne and Down District Council.

An 8'x8' piece from Jonny McKerr which will be on display at the Festival of Windows.
An 8'x8' piece from Jonny McKerr which will be on display at the Festival of Windows.

It's the fourth year the Southern Regional College have been supportive of the art project and several large pieces will be seen in the shop windows. Pieces are representative of many styles of art taught in the College and many different artists. Megan Burns will be the artist in the central window of the Credit Union. Megan studied at West Wales School of the Arts and has had several successful exhibitions both in Dublin and Belfast.

Garry added "We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of Gwen Stevenson and Jill McKeown, who are the artists in residence for the Southern Trust working in the Newry and Mourne and Craigavon respectively. They work in collaboration with people who avail of the mental health services at Daisy Hill Hospital and the Bluestone Unit in Craigavon. They also work in an Older People’s Programme and Learning and physical disability e.g. stroke and brain injury. Most of the pieces this year are from these people. Gwen’s role is to try and give each person who she works with the opportunity to show that ‘everyone is an artist.’ With access participation and ownership being a valuable way to build confidence and to focus on the ability of a person not the disability. There is shared focus and this allows those with or without a mental health or physical health issue to get out of their heads and into their hands.

"It is a privilege for Newry 2020 to help take the artwork of these amazing people out of the gallery and into the shop windows of Hill Street to connect with the community. Without the continued support of the shop keepers, banks, solicitors and many other windows that face out onto Hill Street this project would not be able to continue and flourish."

the Festival Co-Ordinator concluded "The festival is all about bringing art to the street is where it is best accessed. I would like to give a massive thank you to everyone involved especially Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, sponsors of the event, without whom the event would not have happened."