The Artists and Makers Fair was started in 2003 by a parent at Western Road School in Lewes. An artist herself, she wanted to raise money for the Arts in the school. The Fair has grown enormously since its beginnings and is now a successful and prominent annual fixture in the town’s calendar. It is still organised by a small, dedicated group of Western Road parents.

The Artists and Makers Fair sells work by professional artists and craftspeople. Whilst the standard of work is exceptional, we like to maintain the overall ethos that the Fair is a fundraiser for the school and not corporate or overtly commercial. The ever-popular café’s prices are reasonable, and the baked goods are made by parents at the school. We have a children’s art activity each year, and the entrance fee is kept low. The vibe is fun, friendly, creative and community-focussed (people have even chosen to send their children to Western Road as a result of the positive impression they gained from the Fair).

Many of the artists and craftspeople take stalls at the Fair because they want to contribute to promoting the Arts within the school. The Fair has a direct impact on the lives of children in the school as the funds raised are used to purchase art supplies, and to fund art projects or trips that otherwise may not happen. We believe in offering all children an equal opportunity to experience a diverse range of activities and experiences through the Arts.

An example of how the money raised is put to use is the school’s Art Week. Every other year a week is set aside for the children to take part in a wide range of creative activities.  We have provided funding for artists to run workshops like book making, print making, willow weaving and storytelling. There have also been trips to art galleries and exhibitions, funded by the Artists and Makers Fair donations. Money has also been used to purchase a new fire curtain for the school stage, music equipment, interactive whiteboards, and to bolster the school’s contribution to the annual Patina parade costs.

All of this is made possible by the talented people who exhibit and sell their work at the Fair, as well as the parents who help organise and ensure the smooth running of the event, and who provide cakes and pastries for the café.

Thank you to all for supporting the Artists and Makers Fair, where art really does make a difference.