Worcester Paint Festival director Kate Cox on how the idea originated and her hopes for the two-day event on September 18 and 19

“I’ve always travelled around different places around the world and looked out for different pieces of street art and graffiti… and I’ve always thought that Worcester could do with something; there’s a lot of grey walls here.

“About four years ago I went down to Cheltenham Paint Festival… and I realised we could probably do the same here in Worcester, and here we are now!”

Will there be any permanent pieces of art around the city?

“Yes. Part of our remit is to look for a minimum of 12 months’ retention, especially the bigger pieces. In Cheltenham, they’ve ended up staying up almost indefinitely – they’re almost struggling for spaces now, they’ve got so many beautiful pieces. Hopefully we get to that same level!”

What can you tell us about the artists who’ll be exhibiting?

“We’ve curated a really eclectic mix. There are ten well-known names from the scene, and 15 local and emerging artists, and we’ve featured a lot of Worcester artists, that was really important to me to represent the city.

“The styles really vary, from photorealism, to art-and-design style / art nouveau, obviously old graffiti with stylised lettering, a lot of abstract design, geometric patterns.




“There’s a lot influenced by flora and fauna – there’s a real mix. We’ve done teaser pieces already – they were all in communities, they were 100 per cent well received.

“We had amazing residents coming out and bringing the artists a cup of tea when they were working. I really hope that most people will love the fact it’s beautiful artwork

that is transforming some grey walls.”

There’s been a historical debate between whether graffiti is art or vandalism. Does the fact we’re holding a paint festival suggest that debate has been won?

“Not quite, I don’t think. One of the aims of Worcester Paint Festival is to educate people about this incredible art form. I don’t think everybody quite gets the cultural importance, the hard work and graft that has gone into pieces.

“It has such a rich history.




There is a difference between vandalism and graffiti art. Vandalism is when someone does something mindless, graffiti art is when someone is expressing themselves creatively.

“One of the things that’s important is to get a free wall in the city, so that people who are budding artists can create something legally… we will end up with more beautiful pieces. You reduce the vandalism side that way. Cheltenham has found vandalism reduced.”

What guidance would you give to young city artists who’d like to see their own work

showcased in the city one day?

“The main thing is always to keep pushing with your own artwork. Getting a profile, with social media now Instagram is a great way to showcase your own artwork, it’s a great portfolio site.




“Keep pushing, never give up. For budding graffiti artists, a nice legal wall is something we really need, so if anybody out there wants to offer up a nice legal wall that artists can come and paint safely then please do.

“Equally, if anyone wants to contact us online or through our socials @worcesterpaintfestival, maybe there’s something we can do to help to look at new and emerging artists’ work, and if anyone has a blank wall they want to donate for a future festival going forward, then please do get in touch.”




Worcester Paint Festival is funded by Arts Council England, Worcester City Council and The Elmley Foundation, as well as a range of local independent businesses, and will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 18-19.