Artists’ work on show as village continues tradition

Al Milnes owner of The Staithes Gallery in Rob Shaw's studio''w133703c
Al Milnes owner of The Staithes Gallery in Rob Shaw's studio''w133703c

The village of Staithes will be continuing its long-standing tradition of celebrating the arts with a festival over the weekend.

It is the second Staithes Arts and Heritage Festival and builds on the gauntlet thrown down 200 years ago by the now famous Staithes Group of Artists.

Around 78 pop-up galleries will be appearing around the village, many in the old fashioned fishermen’s cottages which line the cobbled steets, displaying paintings, sculptures and jewellery created by the 111 artists taking part this year.

It builds on the success of last year’s event which attracted hundreds of people - much to the surprise of organisers who had no idea how the event would be received.

Artist Rob Shaw and Ali Mine, owner of the Staithes Art Gallery, have pulled together this year’s event with help from other artists and residents in the village who are turning their own homes into exhibition venues or tearooms for the weekend.

Rob said: “It has really grown. We are being hounded by artists trying to get in. Everybody says where will we get the artists from but it is not difficult, the difficulty is getting the venues.

“We had no idea how it would go last year. No-one likes change but once we did it everybody wanted to join in.”

It is a modern day type of event but builds on the success of art in the village over the years which is usually better known for its fishing connections.

The idea came from a similar event being run in a small fishing village in Fife, Scotland, where the community were trying to bring it back to life on the back of the decline of the fishing industry.

Ali said: “The Staithes Group of Artists is the group that Staithes is best known for but there were artists here before them including the Weatherills.

“They have certainly been here since then, maybe not full time but people have been coming to the village to paint and work.

Since we opened the gallery in 2006 that has gelled and created a little bit of a hub.

“It is artists that don’t work together but come to each other’s openings and talk to each other and share ideas.”