Dales weekend is art lover’s paradise

Grand Opening: Gregor McGregor and some of the artists officially open the Derbyshire Open Arts festival at the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath, the first public event to be held there in years.
Grand Opening: Gregor McGregor and some of the artists officially open the Derbyshire Open Arts festival at the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath, the first public event to be held there in years.

It was a triumphant bank holiday weekend for art lovers who have clawed back a landmark building from the clutches of ruin.

The Grand Pavilion, in Matlock Bath, hosted its first event over the Jubilee weekend.

As part of Derbyshire Open Arts 2012, 11 local artists were invited to showcase their work at the venue, which is currently undergoing major refurbishment.

It was the first time the Grand Pavilion had been used since it closed its doors as notorious nightspot ‘The Pav’ several years ago.

Now being leased by a group of enthusiastic locals, the building has a bright new future – with plans afoot to transform it into a top class arts venue.

Kylie Pentelow, from East Midlands Today who is patron of the Grand Pavilion, hailed its reopening as a success.

She said: “It is quite remarkable how volunteers have managed to transform the inside of the building and get it ready for the Derbyshire Open Arts event.

“They have managed to put on a really professional event”.

Grand Pavilion chairman, Gregor Macgregor, said: “During the event we have seen 2,000 visitors and signed up 120 new members.

“We were the largest and most adventurous venue in this Derbyshire–wide event.

“It combined not just an art exhibition, but also music, dance, poetry reading and audio-visual shows.

“We also show cased our new video on the history of the Grand Pavilion.

“Over 50 volunteers have got the building ready.

“They put in over 600 hours of their time and the difference has been amazing. Gone are the beer soaked carpets and the black paint.

“We have every room lit and safe.”

He said that despite the work that has already been done on the building, there was still a long way to go.

There is currently no running water as the pipes burst years ago, meaning there are no toilets, and there is a lack of modern facilities such as lifts.

“Visibly the building is in a terrible shape,” Gregor admitted.

“Our aim is to raise the £2.6million that we need to fully refurbish the building.

“This money will come from the lottery and other funds.

“To persuade them to back us we need to show support from local people.

“During this event we have increased the membership of ‘The Friends of the Grand Pavilion’ by over ten per cent.

“A high membership will help us to show that this project is worth support from the Lottery fund.

“You can join by signing up on-line at www.thegrandpavilion.com.”

Elsewhere in the Dales, creative minds went to work on canvas, textiles and other mediums for the open arts festival.

In Calver Village Hall, landscapes by Chris Gilbert, textiles by Helen Jagger and Mosaics by Kate Pheasey were displayed.

Kettle’s Back Yard, in Middleton–by–Youlgreave hosted a combination of traditional and contemporary scenes from the Peak District national park by Diane Kettle.

A mixture of 2D, 3D and multimedia work by Kate Aimson was on show at the Whitworth Centre, in Darley Dale, as well as semi–abstract oil paintings and drawings by Joan Stansfield and felt work by Suzy Shackleton.

Stained glass jewellery and mirrors by Lisa Joanne Smith were shown at Arkwright’s Mills, in Cromford, as well as vibrant landscapes by Peter Wigley.