I HAVE seen the future, and it works! This borrowed quotation occurred to me on Bank Holiday Monday as I threaded my way through Fisherton Festival. I’d had good expectations but even so I was surprised by the crowds. With the weather gods against us it could have been a different story, but the rain held off until the very last moments.

My parents had come to stay, so I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked. Yet in a short space of time I was forced to reassess my opinion of Salisbury (it can sometimes sink rather low). You can make good things happen! If anything the street was rather too busy, and this presents the organisers with a new set of problems when they plan next year’s festival.

I know that visual art did not feature very prominently this year, but the event serves as an example of what can be achieved here, with enough determination. For a long time I have told everyone who would listen that Salisbury needs a visual art show, based on one theme, and sited across the many exhibition spaces the city already has.

Unfortunately I do not know Paul Dauwalder, because maybe I should have put the idea to him. He seems to be the man of the moment, the person who made Fisherton Festival possible. I certainly did not have the vision to imagine a multicultural street festival could take place here. And if that’s possible, surely a multi-venue art exhibition could happen too?

The cultural calendar is already looking much healthier than when I first arrived in Salisbury ten years ago. Easter at the cathedral, Fisherton Festival and a rejuvenated International Festival In May/June, the craft and heritage festival in Autumn, and the Christmas market. It’s very promising, but there’s still space for a major visual arts event. And we do have the facility, as Salisbury punches seriously above its weight in the visual arts.

VICKY SLATER and David Walker currently have a joint photographic show at the Library’s new gallery entitled ‘Double Exposure’. I admire Slater’s approach: shallow depth of field, subtle colour and a narrow tonal range give her pictures an ethereal and poetic quality. I thought her images, particularly the portraits, deserve to be printed on a larger scale: the large print she has hung here demonstrates why.

Walker deals with the street environment and presents a coherent body of work, but graffiti and torn posters don’t really interest or appeal to me. In contrast to Slater, his pictures are sharp edge-to-edge, contain bold colours and high contrast. He is the concrete prose to Slater’s poetry.

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