Derby Well Re-dressed Commissioned Artists Unveiled

Derby Well Re-dressed Commissioned Artists Unveiled

Five local artists have been selected to create bespoke work that will take centre stage in a unique street arts trail around Derby city centre from Friday September 25 to Sunday September 27.

Derby Well Re-Dressed has been inspired by Derbyshire’s unique and ancient Well Dressing festivals which originated as indicators of clean water during the Plague in the 17th century.

The street arts trail will take place over the weekend that should have been the annual Derby Festé which has been cancelled due to Government guidance around mass gatherings.

It will be the launch event of Derby Well which is a new campaign to support and promote cultural arts activities in and around the city.

Derby Well organiser Steve Slater, who is the Artistic Director of lead organisation Déda, said: “We had a fantastic response from the local arts community and choosing these commissioned artists has been a very hard task.

“We chose those who have truly embraced the Derby Well vision to celebrate the city’s sense of community, mark these unprecedented times in a highly creative and unique way and to demonstrate our collective strength and ability to overcome the pandemic.

“We have particularly welcomed some of the artists’ commitment to working with local communities in the creative process. This wider involvement will make Derby Well Re-dressed a truly inclusive street arts trail that everyone can relate to.”

Mr Slater continued: “Although we are disappointed that Derby Festé can not take place with the usual array of large scale outdoor entertainment, I really hope that Derby Well Re-Dressed will encourage people of all ages and in all communities to enjoy some highly-creative art installations across the city centre in a safe and socially-distanced way.

“Moving forwards, we hope to broaden the Derby Well theme to showcase, celebrate and mark a wide range of milestones and landmarks in the city – working in partnership with partners from all walks of life from culture to business.”

The artists commissioned to install their work across the city centre for the weekend are:

  • Dan Webber who is an LGBTQ+ Spoken Word artist, promoter, producer and events coordinator based in Derby. He is creating a 49 line poem entitled ‘Derby Witness’ – bringing together local people’s thoughts, joys, fears and experiences during lockdown.  The lines will be stencilled onto pavements, buildings and windows  around the city. 
  • Community artists Katy Doncaster and Kat Dodds have created a textile installation entitled ‘Forest in the City’ which is inspired by people’s renewed appreciation of nature during lockdown.  The rainbow-coloured collection of up to 30 vertical hanging silk banners adorned with tree motifs will be hung at Déda in Chapel Street - giving the illusion of a peaceful meditation forest that can be entered and explored.
  • Derby visual arts group Spiral Arts is creating a contemporary well dressing exploring different cultural artforms and taking inspiration from ‘a celebration of community’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’. The design will be a fusion of Derbyshire and Hindu traditions as well as influences from Islam and Eastern Europe - showcasing the different ethnicities that make up the local community.
  • Textile artist Teresa Kate-Hempsell is working with local groups to create ‘Weave Connect Heal’.  The warp-weave installation will use different materials and media for the threads.  It will show how people have felt over lockdown, their visions for the future and signify the importance of connecting again with family, friends and the wider community
  • Emerging young artist Kiana D’aniello is celebrating her culture and balance the link between the past, present and future of black history through her collection entitled ‘Learning About My History’ which is a collection of colourful, hand-painted designs on seagrass baskets.

The artists’ work will be joined in the streets art trail by work and ideas submitted by local people as well as Art & Design students from Derby College.

For more information, please visit

Back to news