Ilfracombe gallery celebrates birthday in style

ILFRACOMBE Art Gallery is celebrating its fifth year in its seafront home and is looking forward to seeing a few new faces through the doors this summer season. The gallery – on the ground floor of the Emmanuel Church building in Wilder Road, opposite the

ILFRACOMBE Art Gallery is celebrating its fifth year in its seafront home and is looking forward to seeing a few new faces through the doors this summer season.

The gallery - on the ground floor of the Emmanuel Church building in Wilder Road, opposite the Landmark, - is run entirely by the volunteers of the Ilfracombe Arts and Crafts Society.

Founded by artist Walter Elliott and fellow enthusiasts in 1973, the society's main aim was to encourage local artistic talent and raise money for charity.

Those traditions continue at the gallery (open Easter to October) which provides a deceptively spacious ground floor viewing area stuffed with paintings, sculptures and craftworks to admire or buy. It is hoped to hold art workshops there in the not-too-distant future.

Throughout the summer the gallery is open 10.30am-4.30pm and in the evening from 6.30-9.30pm.

"It's a hidden gem, a really lovely space," said society chairman Thelma Brown. "It contains entirely locally made pieces and well known local artists who exhibit here include John Palmer, John Grenfell and Ursula Bowes."

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Until moving to its current home, it had been something of a gallery on the move, first exhibiting in the old seafront Pavilion building for many years. The society moved on to the former tourist iformation building when the Pavilion was demolished and became temporarily homeless after that was demolished too.

Now it is well established on the seafront and well worth a visit for both locals and visitors.

"It is quite inspiring here," said society member Angela Webber. "I had never really done a great deal of art before coming here to do a sitting as a volunteer, but it has inspired and spurred me on to do more with my own art."

Over the years thousands of people have come through the doors and several thousand raised for local charities.

That continues this year, with the popular Summer Draw, running now until November with the chance to win an original painting of your choice by John Palmer, John Grenfell or Ursula Bowes. The draw will be November 28.

To find out more about Ilfracombe Art Gallery, becoming a volunteer or society member and exhibiting work there, contact chairman Thelma Brown on (01271) 862049 or just call in.

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