58. Art Couture Painswick (ACP)
In July each year, an arts festival with a difference takes place throughout the streets of Painswick, the town known as the "Queen of the Cotswolds".
Art Couture Painswick (ACP) is an artistic venture that encourages creative people of all ages and from all walks of life to participate in making works of art using the body as a canvas for creativity.
The festival features stage shows where models display the astonishing creations, and a team of celebrity judges decides on the winners.
The stage is located in the famous churchyard of St Mary's, amongst its iconic 99 yew trees and ancient table-top graves creating a world of contrast and fantasy.
There is also live music, street entertainment, strange happenings and stalls selling crafts and produce.
ACP's website states: "We exist to promote joy, excellence and innovation in art by challenging interpretation of the human body as a canvas for creativity, unconstrained by age or experience."
Although the inaugural ACP festival was only held in 2010, the event has grown enormously in a very short time. There is now a year-round programme of activities, and a fabulous display space, the ACP Gallery, where the costume collection is exhibited on a rotating basis. There are also workshops and glamorous and creative events.
The 2014 festival took place on Sunday, July 13, and the comperes for the day were TV’s Lisa Maxwell and Dr Dawn Harper.
The event was preceded by a music festival, ‘Live@ACP’, on the Saturday night featuring the rich talent of local musicians.
The costumes for the 2014 festival reflected the passing of a century since the First World War, with themes of reflections, invasions, legends, elements and heroes and heroines. But for many visitors, the show was stolen by the body art models.
ACP is a registered charity run by a group of enthusiastic and energetic volunteers. It is generously supported by local businesses and individuals and generates a spirit of community in the area.
As well as the festival, ACP has a year-round presence in Painswick with its gallery which holds some of the beautiful creations.
ACP also has an outreach programme offering creative opportunities to schools and colleges, and the community at large. Its aim is to help those who cannot afford to pursue their creative talent to do so via a bursary.