Giant murals and family garden party for Hampstead Summer Festival

A mural festival will take over Keats Grove on the afternoon of June 25 with schools and community groups

A mural festival will take over Keats Grove on June 25 with local schools and artists creating giant canvases hung on walls and gates - Credit: Courtesy of Hampstead Summer Festival

Keats Grove will be covered in canvas murals created by local schoolchildren and artists for this year's Hampstead Summer Festival.

Now in its 12th year, the 2022 celebration runs over three weekends in the beautiful surroundings of Keats House and includes the mural festival, art fair, open air Shakespeare, and family garden party.

Most events are free and co-organised by Hampstead School of Art (HSoA) and the volunteer-run Keats Community Library.

HSoA principal Isabel Langtry said: "We held a scaled back festival last year in Keats House garden - it's such a beautiful inspiring space that felt very safe and is in a very accessible position, so it made sense to hold it there again."

Craft activities at last year's garden party

Craft activities at last year's garden party - Credit: Courtesy of Hampstead Summer Festival

Events start on June 19 with the annual Picture The Heath competition which asks budding artists to celebrate the Heath and surroundings with artwork preferably created on the day. Up to £500 of prizes are up for grabs with finished work exhibited at the Art Fair on July 3.

On June 25 the Keats Grove community mural festival will see large canvas paintings hung along the road celebrating the poet John Keats who lived in what was then Wentworth Place. Local choirs, a dance school and cheerleader group will perform as the canvases are unveiled.

Langtry said they were sending out canvases of around 1.5x2 metres to local schoolchildren, artists, and "anyone who wants to do one".

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"They are based around Keats, his poems, the garden, museum and artefacts. A whole range of ideas are coming in, many - like Keats' poems - are nature inspired including birds and the garden itself.

"All the neighbours have given permission to attach the canvases to gates and walls - even the church has offered their railings. We want to fill all of Keats Grove and make a beautiful colourful event for Camden."

Els Bauer, one of the festival founders, said they will stay up for two weeks for passers by to enjoy: “Art has always been at the heart of the Festival and we are really keen to bring it into the streets of Hampstead. The reaction of the residents of Keats Grove has been lovely. We want everyone to stroll down there to see it!”

Keats House garden party birds of prey

The family garden party in the garden of Keats House will include a birds of prey demonstration, craft activities and a mini film school - Credit: Courtesy of Hampstead Summer Festival

On June 26 from 2-5pm Keats Community Library is throwing a free family garden party with storytelling, a mini film school, art activities, a birds of prey demonstration and delicious refreshments.

On July 2, there are two family friendly performances of The Taming of the Shrew by Drama Impact, performing their edited, interactive version of Shakespeare's combative love story with nine actors in Elizabethan dress on Keats House lawn.

The festival closes with the Art Fair showing the Picture The Heath winners and an open exhibition by local artists.

Langtry says: "People can meet us in the garden on June 19 we will give them a map and they can walk freely around the Heath and village and take inspiration from what they see - whether it's a drawing, painting or photograph. They bring it in on Art Fair day and we will hang the work. There will be something for everybody, marquees of art, free family workshops in print making and painting, and crafts people selling their work. It will be a beautiful occasion bringing everyone together after two difficult years."

Proceeds will benefit KCL and HSoA "two charities which have such an impact in the area," including keeping the library open and funding bursaries at the school of art.

For Taming of the Shrew tickets and Picture The Heath entry go to www.eventbrite.co.uk Festival details at www.hampsteadsummerfestival.com/