A look ahead to the Create Longridge art event
PUBLISHED: 11:08 09 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:08 09 July 2017
The Ribble Valley is already a beautiful place, but the people are Longridge are giving visitors even more reason to come as Rebekka O’Grady finds out.
Come rain or shine, on July 15 you’re sure to find the streets, shops and hills of Longridge lined with artists and visitors. The reason is thanks to the overwhelming success of last year’s inaugural Create Longridge event, which was unfortunately coincided with torrential rain.
‘It was shocking weather,’ said Alistair Sherret, one of the team of ten that organise the creative arts event. ‘However lots of artists were still working outside and, despite the rain, plenty of people still came to visit Longridge to find out what was going on – even BBC’s Inside Out came to do a programme on us. Local businesses said it was their busiest Saturday ever with the exception of Christmas.’
The painting competition, which is open to professionals and amateurs alike, is based on an idea taken from a similar event in Spain. Artists can enter on the condition they create new, original artwork within a three mile radius of Longridge town centre in one day. Their work can feature local people, buildings and countryside, or something totally out of their imagination – as long it is all created on a blank canvas. The winning artist will take home £2,000, and all of the work created on the day will then be featured in a week-long exhibition at Longridge Gallery.
‘The event was created out of two trains of thought, to promote art and creativity as a great thing to do, but to also drive footfall and visitors into the town,’ said Alistair, who owns Longridge Gallery.
‘When we had the Tour of Britain pass through in 2015, there was a great atmosphere of 3,000 people. After the 40 seconds of action they all seemed to disappear. We wanted to create something that meant people stayed in the town in order to the benefit local economy. With Create Longridge, it is a great thing for all, whether you’re an artist, sponsor, visitor or local business.’
For artists Keith Parkinson and Gosha Gibek-Brand, who both took part in last year’s event, Create Longridge is an exciting occasion.
‘I enjoy working under pressure, but I know some people found it challenging, especially working in public. However, it is really good to have that exposure and I loved doing it,’ said Keith, who runs Ribble Valley Art Studios in Clitheroe. ‘The event also makes art accessible.
‘Even for me, as a professional working artist, I can feel intimidated sometimes so if events like this can encourage people to take part or learn more about art, then all the better.’
Gosha’s piece of work was awarded third place last year, and the accolade gave her the confidence to push herself forward into the art world, resulting in renting her own studio.
This year, as well as participating in the competition, she will be visiting local schools and talking to the pupils about art and her work as part of Create Longridge’s fringe programme.
‘We want to incorporate as many children as possible in the fringe events. There are other shows where you compete, but we didn’t want that, we wanted somewhere where they could showcase,’ said Caroline Reed-Smith, who has been involved in the organisation of the fringe activities. ‘Local schools have been invited to submit pieces under the theme My Longridge, which will be displayed on the day.’
There are also a number of other activities, including art classes (age 5-9), willow sculpting (age 9-13), fused glass making at the Longridge Young Person’s Centre (age 11-16, afternoon session 16+) and collaborative textile work led by Cath Reid from Oh Sew Crafty.
Live music will be accompanying the draw/sketch/paint event at Future Sound Music, where visitors to its new studios will be invited create their musical heroes in art.
The work will then be put into a mural in the studios and the winning piece will receive a free guitar and six months tuition.
Sponsor of the first prize is DST Group Limited, a world-leading engineering company based in Morecambe. Founder and managing director Russell Sanderson and his wife, Sharon, support Create Longridge as it’s a very different event and that’s why they wanted to be a part of it.
‘We feel very much that to get this many people out onto the streets, with some who may not have done it before, then how fantastic,’ said Sharon. ‘Especially for children, if this can inspire them and give them the mentality of I will give it a go and get creative then that’s great.
‘Art is very personal, and its events like this that makes it accessible, getting people to talk and learn.’
For more information or to register as a competing artist, visit www.createlongridge.co.uk