A Festive Treat for Kirkham

November 11, 2022

Kirkham Town Centre is about to be transformed by four artists whose creative talents will be unleashed on local shop windows. Each artist has been commissioned to come up with designs inspired by lines from a Christmas Carol. The local community have been asked to rewrite the well-known, “Twelve Days of Christmas “, by changing it to the Twelve Days of Kirkham, with each day inspiring a window design.      


The first day of Christmas will be represented by a K for Kirkham, inspired by medieval illuminated letters. Created by the artist Maxine Lee-Mackie in partnership with the local community and school children from Kirkham and Westham, St Michaels, Pear Tree and St Joseph’s, the collaborative design will be revealed as part of this project.


Business owners are working with Kirkham Cultural Consortium, an organisation tasked with the development of a cultural programme, that will increase awareness of the town’s rich heritage, which includes no less than a Roman Fort, eleven textile mills, Fish Stones and at least forty Club Day Queens; there may even be a partridge in a pear Tree!


Twelve business including Pink Tree Parties, Footprints and Serendipity have volunteered their windows, and eagerly await the artists arrival. Heidi Hopkinson said, “This is something totally unique for Kirkham. It will be amazing to see what festive designs the artists come up with, and I can’t wait to see them.”


The artists planning to add to Kirkham’s festivities and bring a little bit of Christmas magic to town include Gill Smith, Maxine Lee-Mackie, Gaenor Hall, and Katie Halsall. Each artist has their own distinct style. Gill is a highly acclaimed artist who illustrated ‘Maria’s Island’ (2021) by bestselling author Victoria Hislop and recently, ‘Saving the Butterfly’ (2022) by award winning author, Helen Cooper, both published by Walker Books.  Maxine works with international publishers and has worked with clients such as Disney and Marvel and has also published several books, including one for Christmas this year called Dear Father Christmas. Katie is an illustrator inspired by European fairy tales, nature and the twinkly night sky, while Gaenor is an artist captivated by nature who works across a wide range of media, bringing energy and a sense of drama to her mark making.      


The artists will be painting the festive displays on Tuesday 15th November and Thursday 17th, so if you are looking for some ideas for your own windows, pop along and you can see how it’s done. The designs won’t be the only surprise in store as each window design will include buried treasures in the form of Romans coins, something not uncommon to Kirkham. Visitors to the town will be invited to find them and submit their answer to a prize draw. Three lucky winners will win a £50 voucher each to spend in local shops (participating stores).


Cllr Liz Oades said: “This is a great way to celebrate the heritage of Kirkham and animate the high street. With the addition of the treasure hunt, these festive decorations will be a fantastic way to entertain the family and learn more about heritage.


“The artwork will be on display until early January, so there is plenty of time to visit Kirkham and enjoy the festive scenes”.


Kirkham’s Cultural Programme is funded through a successful grant application to Historic England for High Street Actions Zones. To find out more about Kirkham Cultural Consortium or the cultural programme visit www.kirkhamtreasures.co.uk or follow on Facebook or Twitter


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