New art gallery and tea room in Norfolk market town

Artist Lorraine Auton, right, has joined cafe owners Penny Blake, left, and her sister Louise Dolman

Artist Lorraine Auton, right, has joined cafe owners Penny Blake, left, and her sister Louise Dolman to open a new art gallery and cafe in Acle. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A new art gallery and tea room is hoping to add an extra splash of culture to one of the county's market towns.

'The Studio Gallery and Tea Room' opens on The Street in Acle this month and is the collaborative project of artist Lorraine Auton and sisters Penny Blake and Louise Dolman.

The venue will combine a social meeting place with a haven for local artists to display and sell their works, located directly next door to the parish church.

For Ms Auton, the project is a prime example of making the best of a bad situation - it came about after her and her husband Tony were made redundant following the closure of a school they both worked at.

She said: 'We both started looking for a new way of life, so began searching for a property to open a gallery in and after a long search, found this place.

'I then met Penny and Louise through their shop, Idea The Village Emporium and the idea for the gallery and tea room grew from there.'

Mrs Blake said: 'We are hoping the shop will become a destination for people coming to Acle. Getting it together has been a real labour of love for us all.'

Most Read

Mrs Blake and Mrs Dolman will run the tea room, as well as Idea, while Ms Auton co-ordinates the gallery.

A number of well known local artists have already signed up to display and sell work at the venue, including Dee Evans, Colin Harvey and Dave Savory.

Once it is open, it will also host arts events including workshops and talks.

Mrs Dolman said: 'We are all for Acle - we see it as an up and coming place and are keen for this to be a part of that.'

The venue opens on January 22, and for the first two weeks will be raising money for the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, with £10 from every original painting and £5 from every print sold going to the sanctuary.

Ms Auton said: 'I'm a member of the Bure Valley Conservation Group and specialise in painting wildlife, so it is a cause that is close to my heart. I particularly enjoy painting owls.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter