FEATURE: Sunderland artists celebrate the summer solstice

Jo Howell with her photograph "The Sunderland Portal".'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.'Creative Cohesions.
Jo Howell with her photograph "The Sunderland Portal".'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.'Creative Cohesions.
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Today is the longest day of the year and to celebrate, a group of Sunderland artists is holding what promises to be a “mother of a blow out” event. Chief reporter MARISSA CARRUTHERS finds out more.

SUMMER solstice: the longest day the year. What better reason to celebrate?

Frank Styles with one of his butterfly paintings at Studio Q.'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.

Frank Styles with one of his butterfly paintings at Studio Q.'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.

But forget making the most of the light night with a pub crawl and hit the Nile Street-hosted studio crawl, which is showcasing some of Sunderland’s hottest artistic talent, instead.

Today, three galleries will throw open their doors to the public with a series of events to capture the imaginations of visitors.

The programme kicks off at Creative Cohesion at 3pm, where the newly commissioned furnace will be fired up.

And in the spirit of summer - and entertainment - the studio will host a swap shop.

Poet James Oates will be giving a reading at Sudio Q.'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.

Poet James Oates will be giving a reading at Sudio Q.'Preview of the Nile Street Solstice arts event on Thursday 21st June 2012.

Glass artist Roger Tye will be offering free glass-blowing lessons to singers, poets and performers in exchange for a small performance.

At 6pm, the show moves down the street to Studio Infinite, where there will be a Raku firing of ceramic pots by Liz Shaw, alongside Jo Howell’s solo show of photographic video work, City by the Sea.

There will also be a chance for people to take part in The Big Picture, which saw nearly 600 people create a tile celebrating the Olympic games.

It is hoped that a total of 700 tiles will be transformed into a giant mosaic, which will be put up in a city centre location in January.

Art-lovers can then move on to the final instalment of artistic action at Studio Q, where from 8pm there will be an array of art and musical performances from Paul Le Hat, Ace of Space and Rubrick.

There will also be a barbecue, clay oven and refreshments.

Frank Styles, director and artist at Studio Q, said: “In order to celebrate the summer solstice, Nile Street is hosting what is called in the trade a mother of a blow out.

“I’ve been amazed by the quality of the work that has been submitted, especially the photography.

“In a time where every Thomas, Richard and Harold with a digital camera is becoming a photographer, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd and we have some work here that does just that.

“Everyone is invited to bring a bottle and some food to help us to celebrate creative culture in Sunderland on the longest day and shortest night of the year.”

Seaham poet James Oates will be reading his work Levitating Rust, which was written alongside Barrie West’s paintings, Urban Stories.

A performance by Kimberly Emeny and Sally Madge will also take place in a derelict units opposite Studio Q.

The Studio Q exhibition remains open to the public between noon and 5pm from tomorrow (FRI) to Saturday, June 30.

Twitter: @sunechochief