IN THE PICTURE: Anita Haire and Andy Snelgrove in the new art centre that has been established in Gainford TM pic
IN THE PICTURE: Anita Haire and Andy Snelgrove in the new art centre that has been established in Gainford TM pic

A NEW art centre has been opened in Gainford.

Established by the recently formed Gainford Art and Design Society (GADS), the centre offers space for members to work as well as playing host to a variety of workshops.

The centre, on Main Road, occupies the space previously used by the village Post Office and is leased from St Oswald’s Catholic Church.

Anita Haire, of the society, said the “leading light” in the creation of the facility is former art teacher Rachael Neville.

She added: “One of the artists, Christine Ruhstorfer, was going to hire it as a studio but then Rachael had the brilliant idea of making it an art centre.”

The aim of the society, which is now a charitable trust, is to provide recreational art and design activities for the village and surrounding area.

Already the society has begun hosting weekly Saturday morning art classes for children, with the current theme being Christmas cards and decorations.

Tutoring at the classes is offered free but £3 is charged to cover the cost of materials.

Two workshops have already been hosted by the group.

Last month, enthusiasts enjoyed a glass-fusing session with Newcastle-based glass artist Sue Woolhouse and earlier this week Guisborough artist and illustrator James McGairy shared his knowledge and experience with local people.

All materials needed for the workshops is provided by the society.

Ms Neville said part of the aim of the group is to provide art and design facilities in the interests of social welfare and to improve people’s lives.

The society is also collaborating with other groups in the village, including Churches Together, the primary school and the village hall.

Andy Snelgrove, from the group, said: “Churches Together and the vicar are keen that young people are involved and because it is ‘out of school’ it is more ‘clubby’ for them.”

In addition, the society is hoping to hire out the venue for children’s birthday parties with art-orientated activities.

The group has been successful in receiving funding from Durham County Council, county councillors James Rowlandson and George Richardson and Gainford Parish Charitable Trust which has enabled them to buy a variety of equipment including easels, furniture and a projector.

Mr Snelgrove added that the next aim is to buy simple cameras and image-making kit which will be particularly useful for the children’s art classes where they can take photographs of scenes outside and then project them onto their canvases to trace the images.

Another aim, he said, is to buy a “posh printer to create a revenue stream”, which would allow local artists to produce copies of their work.

Mr Snelgrove added: “There is nothing available on that scale nearby, not even in Darlington.”

Many of the artists associated with the society will be displaying their work this weekend at the Annual Gainford Art Exhibition at the village hall.

The event kicks off with an opening evening on Friday, at 7.30pm, and will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 4pm.

For more information about the exhibition as well as the group visit gainford