New Cromer art display features North Norfolk District Council officers as models

They are faces normally sitting at desks dealing with the services that make north Norfolk tick.

But the back room officials are now hanging in an art display as a gallery of model council officials.

A dozen charcoal portraits show the men and women who handle business, conservation, arts, graphics, finance and paperwork at the district council headquarters.

They swapped their work stations for the model's chair in the studio of local artist Margie Britz - giving up six hours of their own time to sit and be sketched for a novel exhibition in the council's in-house art gallery.

Kelling-based Margie is well-known as one of the founder artists at the Salthouse art project, mainly for her abstract images inspired by the local coastline.

When she was invited to be the guest artist at the council art corridor she decided to be inspired by the town hall itself and the people working there.

Switching to portraiture was 'a huge learning curve' as her only recent drawings of people was of friends who were reading.

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'This was the first time with people I did not know and engaging with their eyes,' she explained. 'But I love looking at people's faces, that's why, when I lived in London, I enjoyed travelling on the tube.'

Her amateur models were all excellent sitters, she added. Some chatted, others watched a TV beside her.

North Norfolk District Council arts officer Brenda Seymour, who was among the models, said it was Margie who suggested doing staff portraits and asked for 'interesting faces.'

Another face was machine operator John Kelly who said sitting and switching off was a 'therapeutic experience.'

The other models were graphic designer Rod Cartmell, sustainability co-ordinator Helen Dixon, group accountant Maria Garfalo, conservation, design and landscape manager Phil Godwin, administrative assistant Liz Green, Active England co-ordinator Wyn Nurse, conservation and design officer Paul Rhymes, customer service advisor Ben Rowe, economic and tourism development manager Robin Smith and technical administrative assistant Marti Tipper.

The council offers the chance for local artists to display their art and photography in exhibitions which change six times a year. They are open during normal office hours Monday to Thursday 8.30-5.30pm and Friday 8.30am-4.30pm.

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