Gallery exhibits children’s artwork during lockdown

A Derbyshire art gallery has become a community champion during the lockdown by displaying paintings by the village schoolchildren in its window.

Every year Norman Tomlinson, who owns Church Farm Art Gallery, in Baslow, stages an art competition for the village primary school, which has around 170 pupils.

This year the theme was Space and the entries arrived for judging at the gallery just three days before lockdown.

By now winners should have been chosen and the paintings returned to the school but the judges have been unable to meet and the school has been closed ever since.

“It seemed such a shame that no-one would get to see the fantastic work by all the children so I decided to put them in brightly coloured frames and display them all and put them in the window of the gallery.

“Over the weeks I have been able to show all of the paintings and it has been lovely to see the parents and children walking past and looking at them. It became a talking point on Facebook as parents let each other know their child’s painting was on display.”

Norman said it had been so popular that when all the children’s paintings had been exhibited he invited other villagers to submit their art work and he was delighted with the response.

“I have had paintings from two-year-olds and 82-year-olds. It has been something for people to focus on and I hope it has cheered them up and got them painting, which is what I care about most,” he said.

Norman has been staging the art competition for the last eight years and presents the winner from each year group with prizes from a selection of craft materials.

The gallery re-opened this week and Norman hopes that he and his fellow judges will be able to get together soon to choose the 2020 winners.

Much of the other work in Church Farm Art Gallery is of Derbyshire landscapes and local views, but you can also find humorous animals, flowers and even seascapes on the walls.

It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, or, when the gallery is closed you can ring the bell.

To find out more about the gallery click here.