Youngsters learn about Pitmen Painters at Woodhorn Museum

Children have been recreating the work of the famous Pitmen Painters on a visit to Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland

Woodhorn Scratch the Surface activity day
Woodhorn Scratch the Surface activity day

Children have been recreating the work of a famous group of artists at the site where their work is now based.

The youngsters were mimicking the efforts of the Ashington Group, often known as the Pitmen Painters, at Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives.

The project is a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the group, organised as part of ‘bait’ - part of the national Creative People and Places programme.

Tyneside artists Paul Merrick and Tom Whittle have been brought in and set up a “pop up” Ashington Group hut at the museum, based on the one in which the original paintings were created.

Paul said yesterday: “The activity is for families to create artwork inspired by the collection, looking at subjects that range from life digging for coal underground, or hobbies and pastimes looking after racing pigeons.”

Taking part in the session yesterday were Ella Reay-Carroll, aged seven, and her two year old twin sisters Seren and Phoebe, from Shilbottle.

Mum Amanda Carroll said: “We come from a Durham mining family. I am really keen for them to understand the heritage of it all.” The Creative People and Places fund was launched by Arts Council England with the aim of making a lasting change in the way that local communities could create and experience art.

It is targeted at area of the country where people don’t usually take part in the arts.

Bait is a programme of events and activities in South East Northumberland, supporting more people to create and take part in the arts.

Danielle Burn, who works as part of bait on a freelance basis, said: “The main aim is through art to get people to learn more about their local areas.

“Not just seeing they have to go to the centre of Newcastle to get involved in art.”

Paul and Tom will be running the sessions at Woodhorn every day until Sunday, from 12pm to 3pm. The event is open to all.

The Ashington Group was a small band of artists from the town, which met regularly between 1934 and 1984.

Despite being composed largely of miners with no training, the group and its work became celebrated in the British art world of the 1930s and 1940s.

A book about the Group, Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984, has recently been adapted into a successful play by Lee Hall.


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