And Now the Pitwomen Painters Make Their Mark; Artists Are Blazing a Regeneration Trail. DAVID WHETSTONE Finds out More

The Journal (Newcastle, England), June 5, 2013 | Go to article overview

And Now the Pitwomen Painters Make Their Mark; Artists Are Blazing a Regeneration Trail. DAVID WHETSTONE Finds out More


Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

THE pitmen painters of Ashington have become famous on both sides of the Atlantic but the female artists of the town will be in the spotlight this weekend.

Lee Hall's play, The Pitmen Painters, recalls the art evening classes attended by Ashington men in the 1930s.

They used to gather in a wooden building they called the 'Hut' to work on paintings depicting local scenes, many of them dominated by the local pit.

Now, just one small letter and a stone's throw away from where the Hut used to stand, is a new centre of cultural activity, the Hub.

It's early days but Aidan Oswell, motivator, musician and a passionate supporter of North East culture, is keen to see the Community Hub at The Hirst, Ashington, becoming a 21st Century Hut for all. Aidan, who works part-time at Newcastle University and is on the board of Isos Housing, has been based in Ashington for the past three years working on grassroots community regeneration through his own private firm.

"It's a long-term project but what we hope to do is develop a unique model of community regeneration," he says.

"The area has suffered from post-industrial decline but what we're keen to do, using the indigenous culture of Ashington, is generate some confidence, raising people's aspirations and expectations."

A steering group was set up in April 2010 which eventually became the management committee of the tenants and residents group, Target North Hirst, which now has 103 members. …

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