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Unusual design choice for Gazette

The Westmorland Gazette front page has been designed as never before…

Cumbria-born international artist Conrad Atkinson has created his own version, in his own inimitable style, with pithy poems and references to his obsessions, ranging from Wordsworth to landmines.

It appeared as the centre-spread of a special pull-out section of Leisure – dedicated to promoting the arts, their contribution to tourism and the spin-off benefits to the economy of South Lakeland.

At the same time readers received their own Residents Open Week passport to dozens of attractions throughout the area, with money off offers worth hundreds of pounds.

Editor Mike Glover said: “This is a very special edition, which comes at a very important time in the development of South Lakeland and its economy.

“With Foot and Mouth recovery now in full swing, it is more vital than ever that the cultural dimension of the Lakes is given our full support.

“March alone sees the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s most famous poem, a world record poetry reading event, the first ever joint Attractions and Hospitality event at Windermere Hydro and Residents Open Week which encourages people who live in the area to sample all the wonderful experiences which bring people from all over the world to this beautiful corner of Britain.

“We wanted to do something really special to mark all this, and with the help of South Lakeland District Council and Conrad Atkinson, we believe we are doing just that.

“After all it was William Wordsworth who founded The Westmorland Gazette 186 years ago. And we think he would have approved of this radical use of a piece of artwork.”

Explaining his collaboration with The Gazette, Conrad said: “I started from the premise that culture and artists are more important than anything else. That what they say in poetry, music, paint, stone is more important than day to day politics and news hence the headline. In politics the arts are always the first to be cut, yet we pay lip service to the arts of all kinds as being very important.

“Physically I made a lot of drawings and sorted them on the paper, rejected some finalised them then worked on texts to fit around them very much cut and paste.

“Initially I was going to do a handwritten work but wanted it to look more like the regular Gazette so spent three days with graphic artist Claire Frusher, moving texts and images around on the screen.”

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