Renowned designer Wayne Hemingway will officially open a new community art studio and children’s art gallery in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, on Thursday September 21.
Hemingway will speak at the official opening of The Start Studio in the premises of a building on Park Road South known to many locals as the former Swedish Mission featuring a colourful mosaic on its outside walls.
The building, known as Scandinavian House, has been brought back to life by artist and former primary school art teach Sara Calgie.
Sara said: “We are so pleased to have Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design as our official opener at the event. Wayne has had, and continues to have, an amazing career in design.
“The diversity and influence of his company has afforded him the reputation of being able to look at things as a visionary, breathing new life into already good stuff from products, fashion, environments and events.
“Having been involved with Middlesbrough creative initiatives going back several years, and as the co-founder of the fast-approaching Festival of Thrift, he understands that it has a creative beating heart.”
Sara, who lives in Linthorpe, thinks that if we are to safeguard that creativity for the future then it must be protected, nurtured and valued. Her new Community Art Studio will be a space to do just that.
As well as some taught classes, the studio provides an opportunity for people of all ages to visit in open studio time, use the tools, resources and be supported to “clart on”.
She said: “Techniques can be taught but creativity is a tacit skill that is worked out individually, and it is this essential practice that I want to provide for and support.”
There is also space to use as a gallery area, so that children can have their work valued in their own exhibitions.
Having followed Hemingway’s career since her art student days at Berkshire College of Art almost 25 years ago, where he was a visiting lecturer, Sara could not think of anyone more appropriate to introduce the new venture.
As an advocate for social change, she believes Hemingway is the perfect person to champion the ideas she has about promoting arts and creativity in the whole community.
The studio has a strong business model to support the children’s own artwork as well as enhancing the perceived value of art and creativity by the children themselves, their schools and the wider community.
As a Community Interest Company, the new venture has several planned strategies to enable sustainable continued professional development opportunities for arts educators.
This will include teachers, early years practitioners, home school educators, childminders and other emerging groups in the community.