North Norfolk coastline awash with art

The coast of north Norfolk has been awash with the arts this week for the first ever Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival (COAST).

The arts festival, running at venues from Salthouse to Overstrand and involving hundreds of artists, exhibitions and workshops, was launched on Saturday and finishes this Sunday. It includes a mixture of music, drama, literature, art and craft.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who officially declared the festival open on Saturday night said: 'The festival gives everyone a reason to come here to North Norfolk to witness the beauty of the place and see the richness of the art we have here in all its forms.'

The Belfry Arts Centre in Overstrand has been giving people the chance to see up close the intricate and delicate work of glass artists, Andrea Spencer and Scott Benefield, with their mobile glass-blowing unit.

The centre is also hosting an exhibition of glass work, and glass artist Angela Jarman, has been working with schoolchildren in the area.


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Nora Gaston from the arts centre, who organised the events said: 'Normally people would have to go to a studio to see this sort of glass work being done. I wanted to give people the chance to see this being done first hand.'

Artist Mark Haywood, and visiting artists and Maori spiritual leaders, George Nuku and Rosanna Raymond, have also been taking part in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts' Culture of the Countryside outreach project, Coast Encounters, which is culminating in a series of free events, exhibitions and installations in Cromer, Sheringham, East Runton and West Runton as part of COAST.

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The artists have been making structures at The Brick Works at Cromer Road, West Runton, overlooking the shoreline, addressing questions of climate change, ownership and access to the sea.

Mr Haywood said: 'The plan is to create a shrine to the waves here, a place for people to come and contemplate.'

Included in his sculpture piece will be an oceanographic map of the sea and a recording of surfers taking part in the East Coast Surfing Competition.

Other events happening across the week include Unusual Art in Unusual Places – a series of exhibitions of art in unusual places across the towns.

Taking part in the exhibition, are Norfolk artists Jessica Perry and Meg Foster who have installed a trouser sculpture in the Break charity shop in Sheringham and a model whale shark, nicknamed 'Elvis' in the Cromer Pier Theatre Bar.

Both pieces have been made using recycled jeans, sourced from local charity shops.

Overal, �65,000 has been raised to put on the festival, including donations from various organisations including both Sheringham and Cromer Town Councils and the Awards for All programme.

David Gooch, deputy mayor of Sheringham, celebrated the union of the two towns for the festival, while John Edwards, deputy mayor of Cromer, remarked that the range of activities on offer during COAST were worthy of any arts event in the capital city.

Mr Gooch said: 'We are very pleased to be taking part in this as a joint venture. Cromer and Sheringham are not separate entities by themselves, one cannot exist without the other. We hope this event will be the first of many to publicise north Norfolk as a whole.'

Many events are still running as part of the festival, up to October 31, including exhibitions, the chance to get hands-on and create a fantasy home, or take part in a literary lunch.

There is also a town criers competition and poetry workshops as well as the Out140 project, encouraging people to tell their coming out stories in 140 characters or less. More information is available at www.casaf.co.uk

Programmes can also be picked up from various venues including the Upcher Partnership Office at 3 Station Road, Sheringham and the Poppyland Partnership Office, Merchants' Place, 16 Church Street, Cromer NR27 9ES.

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