06 Jul 2022

First Amelia Earhart artwork to be unveiled in Derry this weekend

Festival to mark 90th annniversary of aviator's historic landing in city

First Amelia Earhart artwork to be unveiled in Derry this weekend

Mayor Graham Warke pictured launching the Amelia Earhart 90th Anniversary Arts Festival.

The first pubic artwork marking the historic landing in Derry by aviator Amelia Earhart will be unveiled in the city this weekend.

The unveiling will be one of a number of events marking the 90th anniversary of the landing on May 21, 1932.

Earhart took off from Newfoundland in Canada in a bid to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Hoping to land in Paris, bad weather and technical problems altered the 34-year-old's course and she landed in a field in Ballyarnett on the outskirts of the city.

Five years later, she went missing, never to be found, after setting out to become the first woman to fly around the world. She disappeared after taking off from Lake New Guinea, bound for Howland Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

A festival programme, organised by Greater Shantallow Community Arts, was officially launched by the Mayor, Alderman Graham Warke, in the Guildhall.

Taking place this coming weekend, May 20-22, festival director, Ollie Green, promises a unique world class entertainment for all who attend.

He said: “The festival will bring to life in our city of music and song, a celebration of a unique moment in our cultural heritage, the 90th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s historic achievement, when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

“Making an unscheduled landing in Gallagher’s Field, Ballyarnett, after enduring unpredicted storms, Amelia Earhart ensured our city's place in aviation history.’

“She brought the attention of the world’s media to Derry’s shores on 21st May 1932 and we at Greater Shantallow Community Arts and the Amelia Earhart Legacy Association and the many individuals and Earhart support groups are determined that her contribution will never be forgotten,.

“We also intend the Festival to promote our city as the Cultural Destination of Choice for visitors from near and far.”
The host of special events scheduled in the packed programme includes the inaugural Inspirational Women lecture delivered by local author and oral historian, Julieann Campbell.

Ms Campbell, who includes Amelia Earhart among her own youthful inspirations, will address an invited audience of young women from across the city at St Cecilia’s College on Friday.

The same day sees the unveiling of the first permanent public art work commemorating Amelia’s 2,000 mile crossing from Newfoundland, when Earhart enthusiast, the artist and writer Joe Campbell, will unveil his majestic 48-foot mural at the Eurospar store in Galliagh (Galliagh Co Op).

The wait will be over for some of Ireland’s most gifted artists on Saturday, when Joe will announce the winner of the Earhart Prize and open an exhibition of the winning entries.

Sunday sees the world premiere of ‘Amelia’s Story,’ a dance, music and visual extravaganza creating an insightful glimpse into the courage and thoughts of Amelia Earhart the 'first lady of aviation' and featuring a starring role for acclaimed local dancer and star of stage and music, Ellen Hasson.

Amelia Earhart was greeted by dozens of wellwishers when she landed in Derry on May 21, 1932.

The city's skies will come to life at 3.00pm on Saturday afternoon with the arrival of an amazing tribute by her fellow aviators for a ceremonial fly-past over the Guildhall when Eglinton Flying Club and friends will circle the city in their own unique salute to Amelia's amazing achievement, as models dressed in period costume wave them by.

These same 1930s fashions will be on display at an Earhart Vintage Fashion Show being staged in the Guildhall by NWRC (North West Regional College) earlier that afternoon.

Ollie Green added: “Add in a special Amelia Earhart walking tour, a young people’s STEM competition and exhibition, a live amateur radio transmission and link up, and a sparkling Vintage Ball with a Speakeasy theme and period fashions, and you’ll gather the weekend promises to be a fitting celebration of an amazing woman.”

Speaking at the launch, Mayor Warke said: “I’m delighted to support the launch of the  Amelia Earhart 90th Anniversary Arts Festival 2022 which will celebrate one of the most unique and memorable moments in our city’s local history.

Amelia Earhart has a valued legacy in this area ever since that fateful day in 1932, and it’s only right that we mark this historic occasion.

“I am pleased to have played a part as Mayor in this festival and well done to Studio 2 and all the partners involved. I am really looking forward to all the amazing events that are planned.”

Full details are available on or in the festival brochures which are available across the city
Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy who proposed the event said she was 'very pleased' to be at the launch.

She said: “It's vitally important we do something of significance to mark the 90th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s landing in Derry with a good programme of events.

“The story of Amelia Earhart's epic journey is known throughout the world. I feel we need to recognise the huge visitor potential the Amelia Earhart legacy holds for our city and district. Promoting stronger links with the USA and building on them, be they tourist, educational or business can only be beneficial.”

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