Acclaimed artist to paint tourism chief’s portrait

Staithes Heritage and Arts Festival features an exhibition of work by students of Whitby Community College who have depicted the village in the style of David Hockney.
Staithes Heritage and Arts Festival features an exhibition of work by students of Whitby Community College who have depicted the village in the style of David Hockney.

STAITHES is getting ready to launch its own modern day arts and heritage festival this weekend.

More than 50 cottages and venues in the quaint village will open their doors as free ‘pop-up’ galleries for contemporary art, photography, ceramics and textiles.

At Ash Cottage in High Street - opposite the butcher’s shop - Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, will sit in the living room of this historic cottage harbourside cottage to have his portrait painted by artist Garnet Dore.

Garnet is a recognised and gifted portrait painter who works quickly in oils.

He has a studio at Dean Clough galleries in Halifax and lives in Chapeltown, Leeds where he mentors young people and tries to use art to help them escape from troubled lives.

Among prominent names booked to show their work are photographer Joe Cornish and local artist Rob Shaw one of whose paintings is currently hanging at the Royal Academy.

There will be a major exhibition of Staithes Group paintings curated by leading Staithes Group dealer Rosamund Jordan who will be giving illustrated talks on how the likes of Dame Laura Knight established one of Britain’s most influential art colonies here on the Yorkshire coast.

The weekend will also see the first public showing of a unique set of Victorian lantern slides depicting life in Staithes more than 100 years ago when it was still a major fishing port but virtually isolated from the outside world.

Other attractions include outdoor night-time screenings of rare film footage and old photographs; an exhibition of salvaged treasures from the many ships wrecked on the treacherous reefs of the Staithes coastline; displays of Staithes’ traditional bonnets and ganseys; buskers and live music concerts staged both outdoors and in the pubs; food stalls; workshops with the likes of Ian Burke, Master of the Drawing Schools at Eton College, and guided walks with local historian and expert Bill Hinchley.

The free event will also feature an exhibition by students of Whitby Community College who have depicted the village in the style of David Hockney.

The festival, planned to become an annual event, is supported by Welcome to Yorkshire and by Scarborough Council.

Janet Deacon, Area Director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are extremely excited about this new festival.

“One of our key strategic aims is to encourage festivals and events outside of the main season to the borough’s resorts.

“The Yorkshire Coast offers some superb scenery, Staithes being a prime example.

“It attracts artists from far and wide and having a festival to showcase some of this stunning artwork will highlight the beauty of our coastline and raise the profile of local and regional artists.”

Staithes was the boyhood home of Captain Cook and was once the base for one of England’s largest fishing fleets. The Cleveland Way passes through its main street while its maze of alleys and smugglers’ haunts Staithes includes what could be England’s narrowest street – Dog Loup is 18 inches wide – careful not to wag your tail.