Artists make a splash in Holt

An exhibition of art work created by workers and clients of the charity Break goes on display in the Picturecraft Gallery in Holt from Saturday. Anthony Carroll visited the Break exhibit to find out how members of the public have now been propelled in to the art world.

Have you ever visited an art gallery and then thought you could have a go at creating paintings that could sell for hundreds of pounds?

That idea has become a firm reality for 80 budding artists who are about to have their colourful and imaginative paintings put on display at the Picturecraft Gallery, Holt.

One can easily imagine the exhibition is the creation of professional artists, but in fact they are the product of hours of hard work by workers and clients from the Break charity, based in Sheringham, which provides support to 1,000 people with special care needs every year.

Children at Break's homes, adults with learning disabilities, volunteers and employees have spent the last three months toiling away at their easels to create their own masterpieces which cover a wide range of subjects, from outer space to baby portraits and Antarctic penguins.

The exhibits, painted by people aged 13 to 82, will be on display until from Saturday, June 2, to Wednesday, June 13, and Break hopes to make £10,000 from selling the eye-catching exhibits priced from £30 to £385.

Initially, 200 pieces of art, ranging from pastels, oil paints and acrylics, were submitted to the Break art exhibition, and judges faced the heart-breaking decision on which paintings would make it to the final display.

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Liz Holman, Break event organiser, said: “It was very hard to choose which paintings would go in the exhibit because they were all excellent. In fact, we have been totally amazed at the wealth of talent we discovered - although I did decide that one of my boss's paintings was not good enough for the exhibition.

“Some of the people who painted these pictures find it very difficult to communicate and creating the art gave them an excellent way of expressing themselves to other people.”

Break secured £5,000 in grants from Awards for All and North Norfolk District Council to fund the art project, which involved inviting five professional artists to provide practical advice to the enthusiastic painters.

It was not only the Break clients who had a whale of a time painting - employees relished the rare chance to see if they could compete with the grandmasters of the painting world.

Zena Wright, a fund-raiser whose landscape portrait is her first exhibit, said: “I am just so chuffed to bits that I have painted something that could be seen by hundreds of people.

“The exhibition is an excellent way of helping our clients develop their confidence and communication skills while having great fun at the same time.”

Picturecraft Gallery, in Lees Yard, off Bull Street, is not charging Break any fee to host the 12-day exhibition, which is open from 10am to 4pm every day.

Adrian Hill, gallery managing director said: “It is just a wonderful exhibition and you would never know the paintings were made by amateur artists. I am sure many people will admire these works of art and then decide to buy them.”

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