ILLUMINATED art installations are set to light up a town centre next month.

The first ever Darlington Lights festival will see a variety of installations scattered around the town centre.

The event will be staged from Tuesday, February 1 until Sunday, February 6.

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Students at Darlington College are among the artists preparing for the event, which is being staged by Darlington Borough Council.

Among the art on display will be a celestial garden of sound at St Cuthbert's Church and an exhibition by college students at Queen Street shopping centre.

The Northern Echo: Darlington College arts student Hailey Harkness, 17, of Scorton, works on the Darlington Light Festival project

The young artists are putting the final touches to a collection of Chinese lanterns and a display of stain glass trellises, influenced by the celebrated artist Daniel Buren.

Hailey Harkness, 17, from Scorton, near Richmond, said: "It is really exciting to do an actual project for a genuine client.

“It adds pressure which gives us a taste of what it will be like to have a career in art.”

Lecturer Amy Minto said: “Traditionally February is a dark, miserable month and people will be able to walk around the town centre and have their moods lifted by bright creative artworks.

“Students have been briefed by Darlington Borough Council’s town centre manager and they appreciate that this is a live, professional assignment so the standards will have to be high.”

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To coincide with Chinese New Year, the students have also been researching culture and have designed paper-cut designs including Chinese animals from the zodiac.

A variety of Chinese lanterns had been designed and a sculpture would also feature stain glass with designs transferred to acetate and backlit for effect. The project had also seen students explore techniques using lino print and mono print.

The Northern Echo: Stars at Night - one of the installations at Darlington Lights

“Students have loved working on the project and have responded really well producing some excellent work,” Ms Minto said. “We can’t wait to see it all installed.”

Other events taking place during the festival include a free lantern making workshop on Saturday, February 5 in the Cornmill centre and pieces from local lighting businesses Gillian Arnold and The Light Owl.

The event will be the first of a series returning in 2022 in the town, including the Vintage Vehicle Rally, Darlington Food and Drink Festival and Pride Weekender,

Celebrations are also being planned around the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in the summer.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “Working with partners and other groups, our events team has, once again, put together a great range of free events which will help to encourage people to come along to our wonderful town centre to browse the wide range of shops, sample the great cafes, bars and restaurants, and enjoy some free, family fun time.

“I would encourage everyone to follow our Facebook page and Love Darlo to make sure they don’t miss out on the fantastic events we have lined up for the year.”

The Northern Echo: A celestial sound garden will light up St Cuthbert's Church, Darlington, in February

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