Organisers of the Appleby efforts towards the Window Wanderland public art event have extended the project, so the town will continue to be lit up this month.
The lights are staying on all over the town as artwork by residents, businesses and schoolchildren is featured as part of the Window Wanderland project which has captured the imagination of the town and created a wonderful display of public creativity.
Organisers have said the displays — in homes, shops, cafes, pubs, and public buildings — are a beacon of hope, bringing the people of Appleby together to take part in a COVID-safe exhibition of art.
It is the first time the town has taken part in the annual international arts project, which is running throughout Eden, and a Facebook group, Appleby’s Window Wanderland, set up by lead artist for the Appleby event, Karen Babayan, now has 328 members all creating their own pieces of artwork to display in their windows.
Karen said: “We never expected this kind of response. It has been amazing to see so many people taking part and getting creative.
“It really shows how many talented people there are living in our town. As more window displays went up, more people wanted to get involved, which is why we decided to extend our display in the town into February.”
With almost 10 per cent of the population in the town now involved in the project, every street has at least one display to enjoy.
Appleby mayor Gareth Hayes, who has created his own illuminated window display at his home, said: “Window Wanderland has provided the perfect opportunity for people to feel part of something special during a time of separation and isolation for many.
“It is so important for us all to pick up the flag and motivate others with good cheer and optimism.
“It makes me weep when I walk around town, seeing the time, and effort everyone has put in to making their displays and brightening up the town in this very challenging situation.
“Seeing the joyful window designs that all illustrate how proud everyone is of their community really is a beacon of hope.
“It really keeps alive the cafes, pubs, hairdressers and the non-essential shops, library and tourist information centre which are currently closed and tells everyone that the town continues to beat with a defiant spirit.
“Creating your own window display and putting it up to share with your neighbours and friends has given us all a tangible mood-lifter.
“I cannot underestimate the positive well-being effect this has had, and is having, on all of us.
“The town is a true family and should be so very proud.”
Window Wanderland started in 2015 when Lucy Reeves Khan, of Bristol, decided to create a community festival to lift spirits and reduce social isolation after she had experienced years of isolation after chronic illnesses.
gThe Appleby, Penrith and Eden Wanderland is now part of this international event, thanks to Eden District Council, EVAN (Eden Valley Artistic Network) Appleby’s tourist information centre, town council, Rotary club and community enterprise.