THE city’s first Historic Quarter Art Festival was so successful that there are hopes it will return next year and become an annual fixture.

From June 18-26, artwork from 50 local artists adorned the windows and interior of 16 businesses across Carlisle’s Historic Quarter as part of the art festival that celebrated all things local.

With the help of a map, shoppers and tourists were able to follow a trail around this beautiful part of the city.

The festival also included a socially distanced celebration attended by Carlisle mayor Pamela Binks and featuring live music in the street from The Unsung and Stephen Dunn. And artist Barrie James spent a day creating caricatures of local business people and visitors.

Adrian Tod, director of Hayward Tod Estate Agents, said: “What a pleasure it was over the week to see large numbers of people looking at the artwork in our window.

“It was clear that art was the star and clearly more interesting than property!

“Based on the interest, the Historic Quarter Arts festival was a great success in bringing people to our part of the city.

“I look forward to next year.”

Businesses that were transformed into art galleries are eager to continue the festival in what is hoped will become an annual event for the city.

Well known organisations and attractions such as Carlisle Cathedral, Tullie House, and Cakes & Ale were involved as well as independent businesses such as Sculpture House Hair and MWG Interiors.

Lucy Matthews, from Bookends, said: “It was a pleasure to be involved in the Historic Quarter Art Trail.

“The pictures were stunning and really brightened our cafe up and it was so good to bring businesses together and promote the Historic Quarter as a definite area and destination in the city.

“It was also fun to work with such lovely creative people.”

Emily Whittington, of MWG Interiors, said: “The art trail was great for us because people followed the map around the Historic Quarter and you could see them stopping outside our showroom to have a look at the paintings and our business too.”

The event was organised by local PR firm Intro as part of a series of pop-up events it has been hosting since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Their headquarters on Paternoster Row also housed the main exhibition of the event, Viola Tricolla, which was curated by local artist Daniel Ibbotson.

It is hoped that next year’s event will be bigger and better than the first.

Nick Turner, director of Intro, said: “This embryonic festival has not only showcased the amazing talent we have locally, but shown how businesses can collaborate with artists to create some excitement around the city centre.”