To say there is no interest in art is a slur

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I refer to your recent article in the Spalding Guardian in respect of the closure of the Lincolnshire Gallery in Swan Street, Spalding. In that article there was a quote made from Mark Fisher regarding “there’s not a lot of interest in art in Spalding”. This is blatantly untrue and must be corrected.

Since that article many artists and members of the public have contacted myself and taken umbrage at that incorrect statement. Amongst those there are professional and many leisure painters saying that in South Holland it is a fact that there is a tremendous interest in all walks of life for art in Spalding and its surrounds. This is totally opposite and contrary to Mr Fisher’s statement in your paper’s article.

To put the record straight I would remind you in your paper that the district council fully supports the arts with their long established annual South Holland Open Arts Competition and their management of the Geest Gallery in Ayscoughfee Hall, where there are monthly art exhibitions of local artists’ works which are free entry to the public.

We have two well known professional artists at the Riverbank Studios in Spalding where John Gray and Helen Webber paint and teach their many students including classes for youth, and hold exhibitions. Following this we are lucky to have such as Unique Farm Cottages at Low Fulney which promotes local art and has teaching facilities; also The Studio at Surfleet for teaching and exhibitions. Another is Cherry Holt Studios at Sutterton which is well worth a visit, having their own exhibition space, teaching, framing and printing facilities, who supply painting materials to the public and a relaxing cafe area.

To name but a few there are many art teaching classes around the area with the likes of the knowledgeable and well known and liked Graham Timbrell and Pru Crosby who have several well attended art classes in various locations in the area.

Art exhibitions are held annually in many churches in such as Sutton Bridge, Gosberton and Fulney all of whom are pleased to support the arts.

Perhaps one should similarly look to our hard working MP, John Hayes, who himself paints and who displays his paintings at Sutton Bridge annual art exhibition and kindly donates his sales to charity.

There is the thriving Spalding Arts and Crafts Society which was established in 1916 and which has regular meetings throughout the year on Tuesday evenings in Pinchbeck Community Hall, with visiting national artists giving demonstrations of their skills. And the long running Open Arts Studios event is held at many studios.

All in all there is a thriving art community in and around the district which is probably one of the best in the country. To state that “there is not a lot of interest in art in the area” is an affront and a slur upon the artist and the community in which we live.

Long may art continue and thrive here in South Holland.

JOHN AGER

Spalding