As the Island’s year-long celebration of the arts and culture begins, Douglas Borough Council has confirmed it will be supporting Island of Culture 2014 with a varied programme of projects and events that combine heritage, history and community.
Council leader Councillor David Christian said: ‘With 2014 the year the Island’s cultural life takes centre stage the Council is committed to Douglas playing a leading part in Island of Culture 2014.
‘While the Council recognises Island of Culture 2014 is an all-Island event, Douglas will, inevitably, be the location for many of the events planned. Much of our effort, therefore, is being channelled into making the capital an attractive and welcoming town in ways that not only promote the Island’s heritage but also showcase the work of our parks section.’
Floral displays planned for the town include a large-scale Three Legs of Man flower border on Queen’s Promenade together with a raised and angled carpet bedding area, hanging baskets along the promenade and, in partnership with the Department of Infrastructure, the creation of a new flower bed on the roundabout adjacent to the Sea Terminal planted with carpet bedding at a 40-degree angle bearing the greeting ‘Welcome to Douglas – Island of Culture 2014’.
There are also plans to create an Archibald Knox garden within the Marine Gardens on Loch Promenade, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the man widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Manx artists and an influential figure in the British Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements. Additionally, a horse tram cavalcade planned for August and Douglas Town Hall’s participation in Manx National Heritage’s open day programme will also take Island of Culture as their theme.
Councillor Christian continued: ‘The Douglas Carnival on Saturday July 19th, re-launched this year by the Council, will also provide opportunities to acknowledge the Island’s cultural life, as will our contributions to commemorating the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, and in this the parks section’s role will, once again, be crucial.’
Chair of the regeneration and advisory committee Councillor Stephen Pitts said: ‘The Council is also mindful that one of the aims of Island of Culture 2014 is to encourage creativity among the young. In support of this the Henry Bloom Noble Library will be holding themed events throughout the year for children in the form of workshops, along with evening talks and presentations for adult audiences. In tandem with this the Council’s Douglas in Bloom and primary schools’ daffodil-growing competitions – together with a floral display design competition in association with the library – will also acknowledge Island of Culture.’
Councillor Christian said: ‘Island of Culture 2014 will be a time to bring together communities and generations to celebrate the rich and varied artistic life of the Island. Importantly, with Douglas as the host town for many of the year’s events, it presents very real commercial opportunities for businesses in the town to benefit in a climate of difficult trading conditions. The Council applauds the aims of Island of Culture 2104 and looks forward to playing an active part in the celebrations.’