Get inspired at Artwave’s colourful festival in Lewes

Artwork by John Marshall at Litlington (venue 40)
Artwork by John Marshall at Litlington (venue 40)

Artwave, the annual summer arts festival supported by Lewes District Council, is now in its 23rd year.

The event is one of the biggest and most vibrant artist’s open house festivals in the East Sussex calendar.

Artwork by Sarah Oyetunde in Peacehaven (venue 109)

Artwork by Sarah Oyetunde in Peacehaven (venue 109)

This year it will run for three weekends, including the bank holiday, from Saturday, August 20, until Sunday, September 4.

The festival takes place across the historic town of Lewes, in the coastal towns of Seaford, Newhaven and Peacehaven and picturesque villages of the South Downs, and beyond.

Organisers say this year is set to be the most exciting ever with more than 120 venues taking part, including open houses and studios, galleries, shops, cafes and pubs hosting more than 400 different artists and makers.

Artwave is not a curated festival but one that encourages a mix of artistic mediums and talents. You can find bespoke leather books, printmaking, sculpture, paintings, jewellery, photography, textiles and ceramics among the art on show. Many of the venues are working studios, which give visitors a real sense of how artists make their work.

Art and Soul, Falmer (venue 23)

Art and Soul, Falmer (venue 23)

The festival has been organised into the popular trails again. This year there will be a Haven Trail in Peacehaven and Newhaven and four different Rural Trails and town trails in Seaford and Lewes. These trails can help art enthusiasts find several venues during a day out or over a weekend.

Lewes and Seaford Tourist Information Centres are the Artwave hubs for brochures, venue leaflets and face-to-face help and advice on how to get to the different venues.

As well as exhibitions, there’s an array of workshops and events taking place, including alfresco life drawing, arts psychotherapy taster sessions, children’s scavenger hunts, book making, stone carving and even creating an art masterpiece on a piece of cake. Lots of the workshops are free or low cost and geared up to entertain the children. All events are listed on the Artwave website – – and you can also find them and other children’s summer activities on

For a special preview night of work on show, 13 venues in Lewes town are opening their doors on Friday, August 19, between 6pm and 8pm, for insider views. Downloadable maps are available on the website or from Lewes Tourist Information Centre.

The popular Artwave Favourite Awards return this year too. Visitors can vote for their favourite artists and favourite venue. The winners will feature in the promotional material for next year’s festival, as well as being profiled in Viva Lewes.

Councillor Nigel Enever, chairman of Lewes District Council, said: “The variety of venues is immense this year and includes studios and galleries, a pizzeria, cafes, a leisure centre and even a caravan. The popular trails are a great way to work your way around the festival with a coastal, four different rural trails and two town ones in Seaford and Lewes. So don’t delay start planning your unique Artwave experience now.”

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