Alternative Advent calendar offers showcase for artists

Claire Stringer, an artist based in Liverpool, and her sister Emily, have set up in online Advent calendar to promote a range of different artists and raise money for charity. Tony McDonough reports

Winter Doors
Winter Doors promotes artists via an alternative Advent calendar


Since COVID-19 hit the UK early this year so many people have faced huge disruptions to their lives and the artistic and creative sectors have taken a huge hit.

Now Liverpool-based artist Claire Stringer, along with her sister Emily in Somerset, is offering an online showcase for artists in the run up to Christmas in the form of an alternative Advent calendar.

Called the Winter Doors Festival, it runs for 24 days throughout December and is hosted on Facebook. As a door opens each day, instead of chocolate or a religious message, an artist at work will be revealed. There will also be an option for people to make a donation to the Mind UK mental health charity.

On December 14, the door will reveal an original artwork created especially for Winter Doors by the Liverpool artist Julian Taylor. He is best known for the fabricating of the original iconic Liverpool Superlambanana, and designing and creating the Hillsborough 25-year memorial sculpture.

Behind his door we will see a short film of the making process and the art emerging. There will be an auction of the artwork (on eBay), which will run for 10 days until Christmas Eve. 100% of the money from the auction will be donated to Mind. When Wild in Art auctioned the Lambananas in 2008 one of Julian’s sold for a record £23,000.

Claire said: “Emily had the idea while at home waiting for essential spinal surgery, which has been continually delayed due to COVID-19. Like many other people this year, her door onto the world this year has been through social media and the internet.

This festival will open new doors for people, both to those who are shielding at home, and hopefully in the form of new opportunities for the artists behind the doors many of whom have seen their livelihoods shattered this year.

“This summer would normally have seen a busy schedule of festival installations, collaborations and performances. Like so many, the events of this year have meant we have had to diversify and adapt in order to survive.

“Above all, however, this year has strengthened our commitment to the arts and our belief in the power of the arts to transform people’s lives through creativity. We hold and promote the simple fact that the arts are essential for everyone and now more so than ever.”

Behind the doors of the calendar is a broad range of artists. They include Stealing Sheep, The Lantern Company, Artemis and Movema. Plus other unexpected acts from elsewhere, including the renowned band The Egg. Everything is family friendly.

Click here to view the Winter Doors Festival and click here for the Winter Doors blog.

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