Create Longridge is back for a fourth year this Saturday. Alistair Sheret of Longridge Gallery tells Fiona Finch how it brings wonderful art to the Ribble Valley town and is a business booster too.
Take a small Lancashire town and add in 90 artists working to create a painting in a day.
The colourful result will be pictures galore, increased footfall through that town on a summer Saturday, a boost for business and a fascinating art exhibition featuring the work of numerous talented painters.
Create Longridge is the name of the annual event which is tipped as one of Lancashire’s top must visit events this Saturday.
In broad brushstrokes it is a transformational happening which put the Ribble Valley town of Longridge in the bigger picture.
Artists from far and near come along and set up their easels for the day in and around the town. It is up to them what they paint - although many favour local streetscapes, shop and cafe interiors or landscapes.
Last year, however, let it be whispered, one lady artist was intent on painting a Yorkshire scene.
That was absolutely fine. There are no restraining rules on content, size of work or medium - watercolour oil, ink, pastel, pencil and other materials can be used. The only stipulation for entrants, who must be over 16, is that they create their work on the day within a three mile radius of the town,
Painting starts after registration at 8am and paintings must be finished and ready for judging by 6pm.
Today is the closing date for entries and spokesman Alistair Sheret of Longridge Gallery is predicting a record entry.
He said: “I’m pretty sure we’ll go over 90. It’s lovely for the artists because it means they get out of the studio and meet people who are genuinely interested in what they are doing.”
Apart from entries from around the county, artists from Hampshire, Surrey, Newcastle, Leicester, Penrith, Manchester and London have already registered.
He summed up Create’s benefits both artistic and economic for Longridge: “It broadens the appeal. It’s a very modern engaging way to market Longridge to a wider audience, Marketing Lancashire have really got behind it this year and it’s one of their events of the summer.
“The support is fantastic. It also means a heck of a lot of footfall for businesses. It’s a real opportunity to show off their goods and services to people coming to the town specifically for Create Longridge.”
Artists will be competing for their share of a prize fund totalling £3,600. It’s a win-win for the sponsors too as they get to take the winning pictures home.
All the other paintings will go on show at Longridge Gallery on Berry Lane from Sunday noon to 3.30pm and the rest of the week from 10am to 5pm, where exhibition visitors will be able to vote for their favourite painting.
The first prize of £2,000 is sponsored by Raymond James Investment, Kier Living has sponsored the second prize of £1,000 and Touchline Fabrications the third prize of £500. There is also the Exhibition Visitors’ prize of £100, for the artist whose picture wins a public vote.
This year the Exhibition Visitors’ Prize, sponsored by U3A Longridge, will have a special local significance. It will be presented in memory of former local resident Alan Porter, a great supporter of both U3A and Create Longridge and a founder member of the local branch of the U3A.
The new original work created for 2019 will be judged by the 2018 Create Longridge winner, professional artist Adam Ralston of Blackpool.
Nor will participants have to wait long for a result. It is hoped judging will be finished by 7.30pm, in time for the winner to be announced at the town’s Conservative Club on Berry Lane.
Create Longridge is also developing an expanding fringe.
Chairman Simon Smith said: “We envisage the fringe programme will grow every year, encompassing an ever increasing variety of creative pursuits. It allows those who may not feel so confident with their painting ability to get involved, have fun and be creative in other ways. We hope there is something for everyone.”
Fringe events include: * St Wilfrid’s Primary School, a morning or afternoon art class for those aged five to 11 with the theme "the terraces of Longridge”.St Wilfrid’s will also host three sessions lead by former CBeebies presenter and professional potter Lizi Pickup. These will be for youngsters aged nine - 13. Participants will make air-dried clay models and can try out a potter’s wheel.
* Longridge teacher Laura Dent will lead a painting class aimed at 13- adults, focusing on the French Fauvism painting movement, with participants encouraged to depict the Longridge landscape in this style.
* Barnacre Road primary school has a drop-in event for three to six year olds between 9.30am and 11am, Two sessions of wooden model making will be lead by Peter Marsden for seven to 11 year olds.
* Longridge Community Arts will lead a drop-in event on urban art in the library grounds and Cath Reid from Oh Sew Crafty on Berry Lane promises a new collaborative textile work.
For the organisers the event’s success is not just for the day, but as a longer term economic driver too. Alistair said: “Create Longridge brings not only highly talented and creative people to the town, it attracts hundreds of residents and visitors. Those residents and visitors in turn support our local businesses, the very reason Create Longridge was conceived.”
For more details of the event see www.createlongridge.co.uk