The Worthing Art Trail was the first major project from Revolutionary Arts, then known as the Revolutionary Art Groop.
It was founded by Dan and Tracey Thompson, renting a studio together in Worthing alongside landscape painter Duncan Thrussell. They were keen to involve artists outside the immediate studio, and brought Northbrook College tutors and graduates together for series of events, exhibitions and workshops. The trail brought together art in shops, cafes, unused spaces (including an old courtyard behind the studios), artists’ open houses and used empty shops. It was the first time Worthing had a festival celebrating the visual arts, the first time the town had artists’ open houses, and the first time empty shops and other spaces were used for exhibitions and events.
The Worthing Art Trail’s committee included Adrian Crick and Debbie Zoutewelle. In the first year, Northbrook tutor Clive Vosper printed the trail’s publicity at the college. In the following years, artists paid a subscription to be included.
The Art Trail ran from 2001-2003, when it joined with a new open studio scheme across Horsham District (also started by Revolutionary Arts) to become the bigger Artists & Makers Festival. This expanded festival fully included artists in Washington and Steyning, who had been involved in the Worthing Art Trail despite being outside the town. The festival was funded by Revolutionary Arts and Horsham District Council and ran from 2004-2008.
The Artists & Makers Festival continued to try new things, bringing special guest artists to Worthing, including Bill Drummond, The Caravan Gallery, David Armitage, Fred Pipes, Andy Waite and Dave Gorman. And it included the world’s first Virtual Open House – when digital artist Nathan Bean opened his flat and documented it on the Artists & Makers website.