The Petworth Festival doesn’t just happen in Petworth, it happens for Petworth. From the outset the festival has sought to engage and reach out to all parts of the community, inspiring audiences with music and performance from across the spectrum and engaging them directly in hands-on, participatory and specifically targeted events.

Besides its regular events for families the festival is particularly proud of its track record of working directly in schools, with young musicians associated with the West Sussex Music Trust whether students of classical, jazz and world music, and more recently with young talents emerging from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and the Royal Academy of Music.

“There is scarcely anyone whose life will be untouched when working with the kind of inspirational artists and performers we regularly partner up with at the festival. It may sound like a cliché but it genuinely is life-changing!” Stewart Collins, Artistic Director

Literary Week 2017

In association with Petworth Festival, The Arts Society West Sussex (formerly NADFAS) and Storrington D&FAS have invited poet Rachel Long to Petworth to facilitate a series of participatory, freedom-themed poetry workshops in eight local primary schools. At this special schools’ showcase, these poems will be shared and Young Poet Laureates for Petworth chosen from each school - and crowned.

The schools taking part are: Fittleworth Village School; Bury CofE Primary; St James’ Coldwaltham; Amberley Primary; Petworth Primary; Storrington Primary; West Chiltington Community Primary and Wisborough Green Primary.

Rachel Long is a poet, curator and workshop facilitator. She was awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship in 2015. Her poems have featured in Magma, The London Magazine and The Honest Ulsterman. She is the Assistant Tutor on the Barbican Young Poets programme, and is the leader of Octavia – a poetry collective for women of colour at Southbank Centre, London. Octavia have featured on BBC World Service, performed at Women of the World and The London Literature Festival, and have run poetry workshops at Oxford University and for The Serpentine Galleries. Inspired by Octavia, Rachel has curated Telling Her Story in partnership with London’s Southbank Centre.

Pop Up Art Trail with West Sussex DFAS

West Sussex Dfas (Decorative and Fine Arts Society) under its parent association, Nadfas, runs an ongoing and comprehensive programme of arts events for young people under the banner Young Arts. The aim to provide inspiration, education and opportunities for young people through experiencing art in all its diversity, and so foster a love for artistic expression and enrich their development.

Young Arts for West Sussex Dfas has formed a rich partnership with Petworth Festival as well as many schools in this area. We welcome the opportunities this brings to increase the programme within the festival for both children and community.

Two years ago we created a Popup Art Exhibition in the Festival. We were supported by fourteen schools who between them them exhibited a staggering 400 artworks of stunning quality in a variety of mediums with artists ranging from 5 to 13years old. The work was admired and enjoyed by many visitors from across the globe.

'What a wonderful display of art from all the schools. An inspiration' Perth Australia.
'Great works of art. We enjoyed it very much indeed' Netherlands.
'I enjoyed seeing my work in the exhibition! ' Petworth
'A really super exhibition. Lovely to see such a range of techniques from so many skilful children. Thank you for making my afternoon! ' local artist.

The Popup Exhibition is being repeated again this year between 12th and 15th July in the United Reformed Church in Golden Square Petworth, open between 12 noon and 5.30, official opening at 4.00 on 12th July. Here is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the range and brilliance of young pupils artwork in the area and for them to have the opportunity to have their work appreciated by a wider public. The encouragement and confidence afforded to young people by such opportunities cannot be under estimated, and their pride at seeing their work hung in an exhibition is priceless.

We have fifteen schools contributing this year covering a wide catchment area and accepting work up to KS3:

West ChiltingtonThe Weald Billingshurst
FittleworthBillingshurst Primary
CoolhamDorset House
WisboroughSeaford College
St James Cold WalthamBury