Expanding arts interest

Doon the Shore by Peter Davidson.
Doon the Shore by Peter Davidson.

A north Northumberland village is all set for another action-packed weekend with more than 2,000 visitors expected to come for the annual arts festival.

The Alnmouth Arts Festival, which attracts more exhibitors than can be accommodated, is now in its ninth year and takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30.

Boulmer by Pam Vardy.

Boulmer by Pam Vardy.

This year there are 90 individuals and groups including paint artists, photographers and numerous craft workers, many of whom will be demonstrating their skills, in 27 venues around the village. These include churches, pubs, halls, cafes and even private homes.

This year will again see lots of free activities for children of all ages.

Bill Bourne, chairman of the arts festival committee, said: “Our ambition is to have something for everyone, appealing to every taste and interest, and I think once more we have succeeded.

“Of course, none of this would happen without the people of Alnmouth and the neighbouring villages for their help and support.

“We are very pleased to welcome back not only the many exhibitors who come to the festival every year and who tell us how much they enjoy it, but also those exhibitors who are coming for the first time.”

One of these is Sarah O’Dowd from Rothbury. Sarah, who is profoundly deaf, was the first deaf person to graduate from Newcastle University with a degree in Fine Art in 1995.

She then started out on a promising career as an artist, but shortly after getting married in 1998, she fell ill with ME and that career was put on hold.

She visited last year’s festival and said: “Seeing all that beautiful work on display really inspired me. The festival was the springboard I needed to start me painting again.”

Her story has created so much interest that BBC TV are coming to the festival to make a programme about her for their See Hear series for deaf people.

Another first time exhibitor is Ellington artist Peter Davidson, who was one of the several hundred people made redundant just over a year ago with the closure of Rio Tinto Alcan.

“Drawing has always been my hobby and when I was made redundant I decided to use the time on my hands to follow my passion for art,” he said.