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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 193

Date:- 27 March 2005

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5athegallery's contemporary art exhibition opened to the public

ON 17 March 2005 St Helens first independent art and craft gallery is situated in Bickerstaffe Street in the heart of the newly renovated George Street Cultural Quarter opening of the new selling contemporary art exhibition.

Since opening its doors in November 2003 the gallery owner Mr Ken Hughes said:- “I have been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm shown by the people of Merseyside who visit the gallery regularly to enjoy the changing programme of art exhibitions and who buy the artworks and printed products.”

The new exhibition titled COAST is a selected mixed group show of varying artworks in different mediums including painting, drawing, photography, mixed media and sculpture produced by 27 Northwest based artists, 10 of whom live or work in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens.

The preview of the COAST exhibition took place in the evening of Wednesday 16 March in the main upstairs gallery space of 5athegallery and as well as artists, local business people and local art lovers; guests included Merseyside teachers and lecturers. Art Teacher Sheena Smith from St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic High School said “There is an excellent variety of work; I will bring the pupils to view the exhibition”.

The event attracted the support of Councillor Marie Rimmer Leader of the Council who also commented on the gallery owners recent award winning at the St Helens Tourism & Leisure Award ceremony:- “Thanks to his vision and commitment, Ken Hughes is a worthy winner of the prestigious 2004 Tourism Entrepreneur award, I know the competition was very strong indeed given that the other shortlistees were Le Frog Restaurant and Rennies Gallery.”

The coastal theme for the exhibition was purposely chosen to link to this year’s theme for Liverpool - Year of the Sea - in it’s count down to becoming European Capital of Culture 2008. Liverpool’s maritime themed year is part of the ‘SeaBritain 2005’ festival - a year which will celebrate Britain as a seafaring nation and highlight its maritime heritage and is an initiative led by VisitBritain and the National Maritime Museum.

The Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Entery is free to all.

The gallery is shut on Easter Monday 28 March 2005.

'Family Albums'

THE 'Family Albums' project was launched on 23 March. The project will place digital cameras in the hands of 50 Liverpool teenagers and ask them to capture the thoughts, experiences and passions of the city's older people. The snap-happy youngsters will take pictures of older people engaged in their favourite pastimes, with their most cherished possessions, or with family and friends. They will also collect the stories that go with the pictures. 

'Family Albums' aims to bring the young and elderly together, to explore their respective "takes on life," and encourage them to share their interests. 

Liverpool City Council's Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Marilyn Fielding, said:- "Engaging our young people in creative activities, and getting them interested and involved in local projects, is vital to the future of our neighbourhoods. There is often the perception, especially among older people, that all young people do is cause disturbance and take part in anti-social activities. This project brings the young and old together, breaks down barriers and helps them understand each other better."

Photographic organisation 'Aware' has been commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company to work with the youngsters. They are working on four separate projects with youngsters in the South Suburbs area of the city, including those who have previously been involved in anti-social behaviour.

One of the projects is crossing the generation gap in the Jewish community. Young people from Harthill Youth Centre are meeting older people at Jewish Community Centre, Harold House. They will take pictures of the older people taking part in traditional Jewish dance, and learn about their culture, traditions and memories of life in Liverpool.

John MacDonald of 'Aware' who is working with the youngsters, said:- "This is a really beautiful project, which is teaching young people the social value of arts and photography. The youngsters we are working with are a fantastic group of people, who are eager to learn, and just as eager to connect with older people. This project is all about giving young people new skills - but it is also using photography as an excuse for the younger generation to form closer bonds with the older generation."

Further projects are taking place at the Penny Lane Development Trust and The Bridge Chapel Centre, bringing young people face-to-face with the older generation. And teenage girls in Garston will capture the memories and experiences of older women in the community through words and pictures. 

The 4 projects will be brought together as one huge exhibition, which will tour the city later this year. And a special Family Albums DVD will be created as a permanent record of the lives of Liverpool's older generation.

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