Local artists snapped up by paintings charity

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Works by local artists have been bought by a national charity after they were ‘discovered’ by the organisation’s northern chairman during the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

Alan Hitchcock, chair of the Northern Section of Paintings in Hospital, was in the town to prepare an exhibition in the Arts Festival Office gallery – a show that included signed limited edition prints by Royal Academicians such as Norman Ackroyd, Craigie Aitchison, Peter Blake, Eileen Cooper and Tom Phillips.

Todmorden artist Mike Peace had an exhibition of his work in the gallery and happened to be on the spot when Alan Hitchcock visited the space.

“it was one of those lucky encounters,” says Mike. “Alan was preoccupied with sorting out the Paintings in Hospital exhibition, but his wife saw my work and, later, Alan came to have a look round as well.

“We had an interesting talk about how my work wanders from figurative to abstract.”

Paintings in Hospital is a charity dedicated to improving the healthcare environment experienced by patients, staff and visitors by lend­ing original works of art to NHS hospitals and hospices.

Alan Hitchcock was impressed enough to buy Mike’s Wadsworth Moor and Landscape for Fay Godwin. The pictures were then sent on loan to hospitals in Northallerton and Harrogate.

Arts Festival organiser Enid Stephenson then took Alan to see work at Artsmill, where he met David Wright and also saw paintings by Lynn Breeze.

David’s large-scale ‘fantasy’ portrait of Richard Ingham, who leads the Northern Saxophone Quartet, with his youngest daughter as the muse Terpsichore and other characters is now being considered for the new Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Lynn donated two of her children’s book illustrations to the charity, which then also bought a third work.

“The Paintings in Hospital exhibition was successful in its own right, but it’s even better that it brought such a fantastic result for local artists as well,” said Enid Stephenson.

“We made the 13th year of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival a lucky mix of the best in art, theatre, music, dance and film. And now, plans are underway for an even bigger and better festival from June 30 to July 15 next year.

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