Date: 25th June 2024


The weekend of 6 and 7 July 2024 is set to see a creative Stockton-on-Tees showcase a free visual arts festival with fifty artists from the Tees Valley taking part.

Stockton BID is bringing The BIG Art Festival to Stockton in a move to introduce creativity into spaces across the town, supporting the regeneration taking place and to contribute to a creative and cultural ecology.

The first ever festival of its kind in the town has an art trail of commissioned mural artworks, live artist demonstrations and workshops to inspire creativity and connection within communities.

Festival Director Harriet Mee comments: “We want to show that art is all around us and to celebrate visual artists in the area. We want to make art accessible as possible for all and for people to experience the wonderful talent of these contemporary artists and to inspire and empower communities. We welcome everyone to come along and celebrate this inaugural visual arts festival and explore the artworks in the venues and public spaces.”

Stockton BID have been the instrumental force behind The BIG Arts Festival. One of the business improvement district’s strategic themes is to be Modern, Vibrant and Connected, and the festival weekend aims to showcase a public realm project which connects visitors, business, organisations and wider communities through a positive experience.

Jason Maxwell, Stockton BID Manager adds: “We wanted to bring The BIG Art Festival to capitalise on the potential of the cultural economy and support the artists in the area. It is well documented that art is a powerful way to promote wellbeing and creativity and build connections and we have already seen many people in the town positively engaging with the artists during the installation period in public spaces.

“We want the artists to be known and help create opportunities for them and support the important role art and culture can play within communities. Thanks to all the businesses and supporters, and the many artists taking part in The BIG Art Festival, who have come together to realise the ambition of highlighting creativity within our communities.”

Artists from the Tees Valley taking part in The BIG Art Festival include three commissioned mural artworks with Nocciola The Drawer (Hazel Oakes), an illustrator who worked with students from Stockton Riverside College and whose work celebrates capturing the community spirit, joy and passion that unites people. Megan Fearnley’s work reflects a vibrant and dynamic connection to the natural world. Mentored by Lewis Hobson from CYAN CIC and Durham Spray Paints, this is Megan’s first mural. Charly Mupenga’s work is inspired by personal experiences he has had in Africa which have influenced his artistic direction and whose work illustrates the importance of bringing a smile to those in difficulty; crossing cultures and generations.

In addition to the commissioned murals, there is a mural by Festival Director and expressionist portrait artist Harriett Mee, whose work centres around the themes of self-acutualisation and belonging. Mee’s portraits of people reflect their true-selves and how they want to be seen and building emotional connections with the viewer.

Artworks are exhibited in The ARC Arts Centre; workshops take place in The Georgian Theatre and the Creative Village and live demonstrations take place in Green Dragon Yard and ARC. There is also an artist market in the Georgian Theatre. Full details on the festival including a programme can be found at

Artists taking part in the festival include;

Lucy Addison and Jess Langford (Creative Village CIC), Sally Anderson, Rebecca Ashling Hague, Olamide Ayomipo Adesola (Ayo'lamide), Lydia Bailey, Kat Bate, Garth Bayley, Keith Bell, Esley Boase, Dianne Bowell, Georgina Cain, Adele Catchpole, Stuart Clarke, BJ Choudre, Lily Cockfield, Susan Crowe, Malcolm Davies, John Dixon, Megan Fearnley, Graham Frank Wright, Judith Gill (Wild Roses Glass), Andy Gilpin (Artist4Apes), Louise Goult, Grimesz, David Grimshaw, Lewis Hobson (Durham Spray Paints), Janie-Lee Irving (Krorroskos Designs), Penny J, Matthew Kelsey, David Kenney, Roselyn Kolawole, Chris Layfield (Open Door Art), Jessica Leigh, Carol Lonsdale, Andy Martin, Clare Massey, Becky McCartney, Rowan McLaughlin (Wildthings Saltburn), Charly Mupenga, Susan Needham, Hazel Oakes (Nocciola the Drawer), Oluwafemi Omoboriowo, Christopher Parkin, John James Perangie, Jo Pickering, Dale Reeves, Matt Scott, Gill Sheils, Nazia Tahir, Igor Tavares, Alan Taylor, Vicky Tucker, Darren Turner, Rosanna Turton, Matthew Williams and Lesley Wood.

Sam Withers