Art takes many forms, and means different things to different people, but for most of us probably the first image that springs to mind is of pictures on a wall. Maybe of a pastoral landscape, a modern abstract, a still life, a Victorian dramatic scene, or a herd of elephants.
And for most of us that is where we think we begin our art collection - with a framed picture, maybe a print of a well-known masterpiece or a locally produced original work - on the living room wall. Of course we have probably already been collecting art for years - from our first record or CD for example, our videos and dvds, the novels on the bookshelves and the glamour photos of favourite stars pinned on the bedroom door.
All of these art forms are reflected in this year's Hebden Bridge Arts festival, which runs from 25th June to 10th July, but let's take a moment to check out the pictures on the walls of the galleries and exhibition spaces.
The two major exhibitions of childrens' book illustrators have already been highlighted in these pages, but to refresh your memories they are Childrens' Laureate Quentin Blake (maybe best known for his collaboration with Roald Dahl) whose display of around eighty original images can be found at the Artsmill Gallery, and Smarties Book Prize winner Charlotte Voake's work on show in the Festival Office, on Albert Street.
The Hourglass Gallery, at the end of Hangingroyd Lane, has long been both an innovator and a Festival supporter, and this year it hosts Hellela Shaw's "Olive Tree" show, an installation of photographic fragments on translucent fabric, exploring the significance of the olive tree as a symbol of Palestinian identity.
Newcomer Phil Withersby has opened Calder Gallery on Market Street, and is showing, and working on, his paintings, and prints, whilst nearby in Melbourne Mill photographer Steve Morgan has a poignant exhibition.
The demise of weaving led to new uses for the town's mills - Melbourne Mill becoming home to a collection of artists, - but now they are being converted to des ressies, and Steve's photos capture the last days of Pecket Well Mill as a weaving shed before its conversion to residential units.
More local photography in the Little Theatre bar, with "Surface Tension" by Sarah Eyre exploring the Pennine's moor-top reservoirs - their stark blasted locations and changing appearance through subtle changes of weather - asking what these watery surfaces reflect, as well as what they hide submerged beneath.
For an exhibition literally of paintings on walls take your binoculars to Bond Street or Royd Terrace and focus on the garden of 37 Royd Terrace where "Graffiti Garden" is a display of Graffiti Boards created by local young people over the past year (you can meet the artists in Bond Street on Sunday June 26th from noon to 4 pm).
Other locally produced work is on display at the Mytholmroyd Artists Exhibition at St Michael's Church Hall, whilst the Hare and Hounds pub at Old Town shows watercolours, pastels and inks by Yvonne Stubbs. Hebden Bridge photographer Sharon Oliver received an Arts Council grant to document the after-effects of the tsunami in Tamil Nadu, and the result can be seen at the Canalside Gallery. And of course many local artists are opening their studios during the festival.
Finally in this summary of pictures on walls, another Hebden Bridge artist, Hannah Lawson, spends part of her life working as a guide on the expedition cruise ship MV Polar Star, snapping and sketching the scenery and wildlife of the Polar regions, and she is displaying her work in a slide show "Wildlife in White" at Hebden Bridge Methodist Church on Friday 8th July.
Please be aware that many of the exhibitions are only open on specific days or at specific times, full details of which can be found in the Festival Programme. But, whether you've an odd hour to spare or you're wanting to fill the day, staring at walls will be a rewarding experience in Hebden Bridge during Festival Fortnight!
It is almost inevitable that even the best laid plans of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival organisers go oft astray in one way or another, and so it has proved. This, then, is an update to the printed programme details, and also the latest information on bookings.
Firstly, please note that on Sundays the box office on Albert Street does not open until noon, whereas on all other days it is open from 10 am. Closing time is 5 p.m. every day.
The Calderdale Community Samba event (Saturday 2nd July) has been relocated from Holme Street to the Salem Community Centre on Market Street. All other details are as the programme.
Both Ted Hughes walks on 25 June and 10th July, are SOLD OUT.
The stalls tickets for Doris and the Dinner Ladies are SOLD OUT. There are still plenty of the cheaper balcony tickets available, where you can sit and drink and enjoy the music. The show, with a licensed bar, takes place on the opening Saturday of the festival (25th June) at the Picture House. Just to explain, because of recent health and safety issues and insurance problems, the Festival Organisers have had to control the numbers dancing by restricting access to the dance area to those with stalls tickets, which is a shame but gives an opportunity for you to find ways to make the balcony of a Doris concert an event in itself! Fancy dress? Song sheets? Flashing neon head gear? Full evening dress? Go on, be creative!
The Festival Box Office reports that ticket sales generally are going well, so phone them on 01422 842684 or call in at New Oxford house Albert Street (opposite the Albert pub) to make sure you reserve your seats at your favoured events in what promises to be a great 2005 Festival!