South Holland – cultural desert to arts hub

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It was once described as a “cultural desert” but South Holland is showing this week it has become an arts hub.

The district was given the negative assessment in an Arts Council survey of local cultural activity in 2008.

John Gray at work on his Edinburgh series. Photo: SG080513-117TW

John Gray at work on his Edinburgh series. Photo: SG080513-117TW

Since then Transported has ensured that hundreds of people have regular access to arts activities.

And this week sees the opening of South Holland Open Arts Exhibition at South Holland Centre in Spalding, with work by more than 60 artists from across the region on display.

South Holland arts and culture development officer Rachel Rowett says around 80 pieces of art are on show, covering everything from sculpture and digital photography to landscapes and mosaics.

She said: “It’s more popular than ever this year. We were up again on entries and the judges had a really difficult job but they have managed to fit in as many artists as they can while maintaining a high standard.”

Two of the exhibitors are local artists John Gray, from Riverbank Studios in Spalding, and Moulton artist Mo Teeuw.

At the suggestion of town centre manager Dennis Hannant they have both arranged art events to run alongside the Open Arts Exhibition.

John is holding a Feast of Art at The Lincolnshire Poacher in Spalding next Monday, March 9 (7pm).

The evening with landlord Dave Higgins will start with a meal and a drink and then John will give a talk about his Edinburgh series of paintings, and prints of these will be on display in the pub.

John, who has sponsored a prize for a first time exhibitor in the Open Arts Exhibition,has been working for around 20 years on his Edinburgh series, based on some of the real-life characters and historical stories that came out of the city.

Tickets cost £8.95 and must be pre-booked at the pub.

Mo is putting on a talk and demonstration with tea and cake on Thursday, March 12 (3.45pm) at Flowers N Things in Spalding. Tickets cost £5 from the shop.

The Open Arts Exhibition is on March 5 (1-6pm), March 6 and 7 (10am-3pm), March 8 (2-5pm), March 9, 10 (10am-3.30pm), March 11 (10am-7.30pm), March 12 (10am-5pm).