It's almost half a century since Holmfirth Artweek was launched as a fundraiser for what is now the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

The brainchild of art enthusiasts Isobel Shaw and Christabel Dangerfield, the annual showcase of Yorkshire creativity is now one of the country’s largest community arts events.

In its first year it raised £120. Last year the figure was an astonishing £36,000. As many as 66,000 original pieces of art have been sold since it began.

This year’s Artweek, the 48th, which begins on Sunday, will feature the work of more than 400 professional and amateur artists in its main exhibition space alone.

Running alongside the exhibition of 2,000 works in Holmfirth Civic Hall will be no fewer than 23 fringe events in the Holme Valley.

It’s been a busy summer for the arts in the Holme Valley.

Normally held in early July, Holmfirth Artweek was moved to later in the month to avoid a collision with the all-important Yorkshire Festival running alongside the Tour de France, which itself hosted a number of arts events.

It is also hot on the heels of the Holmfirth Arts Festival, another celebration of culture in the Holme Valley.

Richard Raby, a member of the Artweek’s organising committee, says all this artistic activity confirms the Holme Valley’s status as a creative centre of excellence.

“The exhibition is very popular,” he said, “We have to turn away exhibitors every year because of the space restrictions and on the Sunday morning when the exhibition opens we have buyers queuing up outside waiting to go in.

“An awful lot of work gets sold, from both professional and amateur artists, and it sells very quickly.

“We have artists who are well known locally and nationally in the exhibition.”

Richard, a lecturer in English at the University of Sheffield, is a part-time potter, but won’t be exhibiting himself as he has been too busy helping to plan the art week to amass a body of work.

But his wife Sue Jenkins, a Holme Valley potter, will be exhibiting and is being joined by a number of the area’s nationally acclaimed artists such as ceramicist Jim Robison, sculptor Brendan Hesmondhalgh and photographic artist Ali White.

Chicken by potter Sue Jenkins
 

Each year the event promotes the work of a featured artist and for 2014 art director Mick Kirby-Geddes has chosen Philip Hill, whose watercolours and acrylic paintings are inspired by the Pennine landscape.

Influenced by Edward Seago and John Singer Sargent, Philip is a retired art and design teacher.

His work can be seen in the Civic Hall’s Trevor Stubley Gallery.

Entry to the main exhibition is £2, which allows visitors to make repeated viewings.

It is open on Sunday from10am until 5pm; Monday to Friday, from 10am until 9pm; and on Saturday, July 26, from 10am until 5pm.

Brochures and maps for the many fringe events are available free from the Tourist Information Office and library.

A number of artists are running demonstration sessions during the week on everything from Chinese painting and upholstery to rag rug making and wood carving.

Details are also available on the event website www.holmfirthartweek.org

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