Rowsley-based contemporary art charity Level Centre and Peak Village have celebrated the culmination of a stunning exhibition by disabled artists, which drew flocks of local visitors to the centre when it was hosted there in early summer.

The exhibition included five diverse visual art exhibitions by Level artists, including Making Faces; After I Died; Sick Gaze; and Level In Layers.

Peak Village, which offers a laid-back shopping experience in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside, sponsored the month-long exhibition to celebrate Level being its Charity of the Year for 2023 and will continue to collaborate with the organisation on exhibitions and activities.

Level, an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation, celebrates ‘the art that difference makes’, producing and promoting high quality contemporary work that is both powerful and relevant.

All of the work that was displayed at the centre as part of the exhibition was created by disabled artists, or by artists who consider access to be at the heart of their practice.

Level Centre hosts a year-round, inclusive programme of free digital, visual and performing arts, alongside artists’ residencies and creative workshops at its RIBA award-winning contemporary arts centre in nearby Matlock.

Great British Life: An exhibitor showcases his work Photo: Level An exhibitor showcases his work Photo: Level

Opened in 2008, the centre specialises in visual, digital and performing arts and is open year-round with a programme of visual arts exhibitions, digital installations and workshops – much of which is produced by or with disabled creatives from both Derbyshire and across the UK.

Features of the centre include level access throughout; disabled parking spaces; a hearing loop; a designated quiet space; braille signage; ear defenders available to borrow; a mobile hoist; handrail in the main corridor; and a shower bed.

‘We’re so pleased that Level Centre are our charity of choice this year, and we hope to grow awareness of the valuable work they do,’ says Katayune Jacquin, centre manager at Peak Village.

‘There are so many inspiring things happening at Level, and we have exciting plans to amplify these here at Peak Village across the year.

‘We were proud to kick this off by hosting the exceptional and inspiring exhibition of works by Level artists that truly celebrated the art that makes a difference.’

‘We're thrilled to be the Peak Village charity of the year for 2023, and it couldn't have come at a better time for us,’ adds Kerry Andrews, executive director at the Level Centre.

‘As well as raising money for Level, Peak Village will be home to some of our digital, visual and performing art projects and we're really excited to be sharing what we do with their customers.

‘We can't thank our lovely neighbours at Peak Village enough; their support will help us continue to deliver creative programmes that celebrate the Art that Difference Makes.’

Peak Village actively supports local makers, artists and producers, and regularly welcomes creative pop-up experiences and residencies to sit alongside the many independent brands and businesses that call it home.

In the past year, Peak Village has added Coghlans Food and Wine Experience Centre, Wild Olive, Lambs Cakes and Bakes and food, drink and retail concept Chatsworth Kitchen, which have all proved popular with the local community and visitors alike.

Situated in the village of Rowsley on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Peak Village is home to nearly 20 retail and leisure businesses and employs between 80 and 100 people.

Significant investment over the past two years has enabled the site to continue improving and growing following its purchase in 2021 by the Devonshire Group, based at nearby Chatsworth.