A first for the Horsham District, this year-long celebration came to a bright, colourful and magical end on 31 December 2019.
From the Horsham Park laser light launch in January to the Light Up Horsham spectacular in Horsham’s Market Square throughout the whole of December, the Year of Culture presented the ultimate profile raiser for the District’s culture and heritage and has left an enduring legacy of learnings, events and activities to be explored and enjoyed by residents and visitors long after 2019.
The extensive programme, with some 650 events and activities resulted in every single parish of the District being involved in the celebrations.
This major showcase of local arts, heritage, song, dance, literature, theatre and music most certainly did not disappoint in its appeal to everyone from the District and beyond.
Some 38 projects were funded directly by the Council’s Year of Culture team including major public art sculptures such as those at Warnham Nature Reserve, the first ever Horsham Film Festival, the triumph of a Horsham Children’s Parade, a year- long series of celebrations in Henfield, a District wide play writing competition, the Horsham District Street Pianos project and many more.
Large scale Council organised events included rural touring of the Red Lion play, outdoor folk opera Tree & Wood at Leonardslee and the Light Up Horsham projections.
Specially commissioned district landscapes were created by local artist Sarah Duffield and exhibited for all to enjoy at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery, and 12 special hidden gems were revealed to the public.
Year of Culture attracted some 400 fringe events including a hugely popular vegan festival, the return of the Christ’s Hospital Band to Horsham Town Centre, a performance from the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, an informal outside art project called Watch This Space and author nights with supper club WeFiFo, to name but a few. Our West Sussex County Council libraries stepped up to the plate and had hundreds of readers involved in the Horsham District Reading Challenge.
Thank you to London Gatwick and Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens our headline sponsors, and to the numerous other companies who have sponsored and supported the project along the way.
Huge thanks also to the volunteers, organisers, artists, venues and many others who have given their time, talents, energy and enthusiasm to make this year happen.
And finally, do look out for future events which are set to return as a result of this game changer of a year.