DCAC Hosts Bideford Bay Creatives Of England Exhibit

Posted By on August 27, 2013

The Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo is showing a new exhibit all the way from England, set to open during the town’s First Friday celebration on September 6.

Bideford Bay Creatives of Devon, England will open an exhibit with a First Friday reception at the Dare County Arts Council on September 6 from 6 to 8pm.  Music, light fare and libation will be offered. The show will exhibit through September 30 (Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday’s noon- 4 p.m.). This event is free and open to the public. The DCAC is located at 300 Queen Elizabeth Avenue in downtown Manteo.

Bideford Bay Creatives’ exhibit “A Portrait of Bideford” tells the story of this English town which is a twin with the Town of Manteo. This exhibition has been made possible partly to the artistic partnership and Cultural Exchange between Bideford Bay Creatives and Dare County Arts Council.

In 2010, founding member and Chair of Bideford Bay Creatives (BBC) Sadie Green, embarked on re-igniting this significant and important historic relationship between Bideford and Manteo through a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellowship to North Carolina and Virginia. This was partly a research trip to make ‘first contact’ with the arts and local community in Manteo and to get to know some of the people to ignite a ‘special relationship’ between the towns.

 The plan was for Sadie to set up an Arts and Cultural Exchange Program after her visit, enabling artists to travel from their town to the other, bringing their work, making new work and sharing stories about their home town and what inspires them to make the artwork they do. This program was also designed to enable residents of, and visitors to, both Manteo and Bideford understand about everyday life and culture and encourage relationships to be built.

The first phase of the exchange program took place in June, 2011. Bideford Bay Creatives organized a handmade postcard exchange between Bideford and Manteo. Artists exhibited their unique cards in the BurtonArtGallery and Dare County Arts Council Gallery in downtown Manteo. Phase two of the exchange program is this exhibit by Bideford bay artists, BBC members and others, in the Town of Manteo.

The idea for this exhibition resulted from Sadie Green’s second visit to Manteo in April, 2012. She had been filming residents of Manteo and Roanoke Island for a forthcoming installation and exhibition called ‘A Portrait of Manteo’ she was developing with her husband, photographer Dave Green, for exhibition in their home as part of Art Trek Open Studios in July, 2012. This sparked the idea to initiate and create a similar exhibition in Manteo but on a larger scale with a group of creative’s. The people who live in these towns do not yet know each other and do not have a sense of where the other town is, what it looks like or what people that live there do on a daily basis. The ‘A Portrait of Bideford’ exhibition is a first step for the viewer to meet the people and places of Bideford and surrounding area.

The language of art and the ability of artists to convey a sense of place follows in the footsteps of John White, the Governor of the first English Colony in the New World on Roanoke Island in 1587.White was an artist and explorer who traveled from Devon to what is present day North Carolina in 1585 under Bideford’s Sir Richard Grenville. He exploring land to claim on behalf of Elizabeth I and recorded the nature and native people he witnessed through his remarkable watercolor drawings and paintings.

Bideford Bay Creatives have managed and produced this major multi media, cross art-form exhibition. It is about a sense of place with images of the town, landscape, seascape and natural environment as well as some people who live and work in the area. It features paintings, prints, photographs, jewelry and film from Hilary Paynter, Flambeaux Jewellery, Mary Myers, Kim Styles, Dave Green, Andrew Wheatley, Rosie Burns, Bert Bruins, Duncan Hopkins and Sadie Green. The exhibition also features a small selection of artwork by children, who participated in the Bideford 500 GRAFTA awards in June, 2013. Music is a major part of the exhibition with local musicians generously allowing their songs and music to be aired in the Gallery to evoke a sense of Bideford across the waves. This includes music by Andy and Linda Knight, Steve Ruffe, Kevin Beano Green, Johnny Sharp, DogLeg and Judith Christie.

Images/audio/film of work produced for Manteo will be shared on BBC’s website and Facebook page.

It is hoped that BBC can raise sufficient funds for a small number of creative people to travel to Manteo in 2014 and undertake a short residency here. This would enable further community relationships to build as the artists could talk about their work, the inspiration for it and present information about Bideford. It will also be a fantastic opportunity for development of creative work through inspiration gained from meeting people and from visiting Manteo, Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks area.

To prevent the memory of Bideford’s twin American town being forgotten again, BBC has invited  the Dare County Arts Council to organize a group of Manteo based artists to put together a reciprocal show- ‘A Portrait of Manteo’ to bring to Bideford in 2015, to introduce people in Bideford to their twin town and it’s community in America. 

Instow Seawall Sunset 2012 by Andrew Wheatley

Instow Seawall Sunset 2012 by Andrew Wheatley

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Posted by Matt Artz

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