School sets up art gallery and workshops + SLIDESHOW

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A NEW gallery is bringing the art world to a former pit community.

Glendene Arts Academy has launched its first exhibition of work by artist Frank Briffa.

Artist Frank Briffa teaching art workshops with pupils at Glendene Arts Academy

Artist Frank Briffa teaching art workshops with pupils at Glendene Arts Academy

The former Glendene School and Community Arts College, based in Easington, which caters for students with special needs, decided to create a small art gallery, Glendene, within the school building.

Run by teenagers at the school, the gallery plans to host six solo exhibitions every year by some of the UK’s top artists.

The project aims to develop strong links between the academy and artists, galleries and other arts organisations and it also provides pupils with the unique experiences of running a gallery.

Glendene Gallery also gives East Durham residents the chance to view work by top UK artists on their doorstep.

Frank’s work “Music Paintings” was launched at a special preview evening in the academy this week.

The abstract works in the exhibition demonstrate strong links to Frank’s passion for music and the paintings are based on pieces by the composers, Nielsen, Varese, Mahler, Martinu and Ives.

The artist said: “Some music has the ability of transporting us to another place and the paintings in this exhibition are based on pieces of music which, for me, have this quality.

“The pieces of music I use, I have known over a long period so that they have had time to produce a response. The paintings that result may be my response to the entire piece or to just a few bars of a large work.”

Glendene Arts Academy principal Eric Baker said: “We are delighted to welcome Frank Briffa to our academy for this exhibition and to be able to share his work within our local and wider community.

“We are very much looking forward to working with him and know that our pupils will benefit enormously from this experience.”

As well as staging his exhibition in the school, Frank will also be doing workshops with the children to encourage their artistic abilities.

Frank, who previously worked as a college lecturer, has been exhibiting at galleries throughout the North since 1997 and his work has also been shown in Scotland, Spain and France, as well as a commission on display at London’s Canary Wharf.

The current exhibition will run until December 14 and anyone is welcome to go along.

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