A look ahead to 2019 Staithes Festival

Staithes comes to life in September (c) Tony Bartholomew

Staithes comes to life in September (c) Tony Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

Artists in Staithes open their doors to visitors for a creative and quirky festival in September. Well worth a visit says Anna Murray.

Al Milnes Staithes Gallery (c)
Michelle Maddison Photography

Al Milnes Staithes Gallery (c) Michelle Maddison Photography - Credit: Archant

Staithes is synonymous with many treasures, from Captain Cook to rock-pooling. But perhaps its most outstanding feature is its artistic heritage. After all, the beauty of a village that's seemingly lost in time has always lent itself to artistic interpretation.

Staithes has a long history of illustrious painters, most notably a small group of around 30 artists known as the Staithes Group or the Northern Impressionists, dating back to the 19th century. A group that included Laura Johnson (later Dame Laura Knight), Harold Knight, Joseph Bagshawe and others came to Staithes to wallow in its quirky beauty.

But those numbers swell to over a hundred artists come September for the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage, it's quite the event.

Al Milnes runs Staithes Gallery, a lovely place housed in a Georgian building in the heart of the village. Al's in charge of Staithes Festival: 'Every year over 100 artists flock to Staithes to exhibit in pop-up galleries. There are also walks, talks, workshops, concerts and a wealth of heritage events as well,' she says.

Follow the trail to the exhibitors (c) Tony Bartholomew

Follow the trail to the exhibitors (c) Tony Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

This year, the festival launches at the gallery on Friday September 6 and runs across the weekend.

An illustrious mix of artists bring their wares to Staithes, as Al explains: 'Our village is a dream for artists. It's the superb quality of the light and a picturesque offering of subjects from the bobbing boats to the rugged cliffs and breath-taking harbour.'

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One of the best bits of the Staithes Festival is mooching round more than 80 cottages and public buildings which throw open their doors as pop-up galleries for a selling exhibition of work by local and visiting artists. It's a convivial and personal way to buy art - direct from its creator.

There's myriad names choose from as you hop from gallery to gallery; from locally renowned painter Rob Shaw and his masterpieces depicting Staithes and its riches, to Jacqueline Warrington and her array of jewellery and silverware - you really will want to treat yourself! Work includes painting, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and crafts. Others not to be missed include Jules Pearson and her digital works, Penny Phillips' ceramic sculptures and Whitby lass Bridget Wilkinson with her mixed media paintings.

Running alongside the creative stuff is a vibrant programme of music, ranging from street buskers to concerts. The must-not-miss is the village's very own rock band, Dire Staithes! Expect rock and pop from the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a bit of Eric Clapton too. They open the festival at Staithes Gallery on the Friday night. Food and drink plays a big part, of course, with a number of pop-up tea rooms and other food offerings, as well as much-loved businesses dotted around the village. Explore pubs like the Cod and Lobster, the Royal George and the Captain Cook Inn at the top of the village, as well as the Endeavour, Dotty's Vintage Tearoom, the Seadrift Cafe and at the top of the village, Excelsior fish and chips. So walk the maze of lanes visiting the pop-up galleries, take part guided walks and bask in an array of fascinating history at all sorts at workshops, talks and film shows. u

Festival Opening Times

Open Evening: Friday, September 6, 7pm-8.30pm

Saturday and Sunday: Galleries open 10am-5.30pm

The light show begins after dark and runs until late.

Entry to the Festival is and most events are free.

All of the artists are listed on the festival's comprehensive website