At Greenfield Arts in Newton Aycliffe the next of the centenary celebrations of Norman Cornish’s life and work opens on Thursday 10 October and runs till the 11 December.

This exhibition focuses on the challenges Norman had to overcome to become a successful professional artist and included are 15 works that have never been on public display before.

There’s a real charm to these works – a portrait of Little Sheila in pastels on the back of a Cadbury chocolate box, the miners on the pit road on a page ripped out of the Radio Times, the Signal Cabin at Trimdon where he used to get off the bus to court his future wife Sarah, and an early oil painting on board of the pit gantry now owned by Norman’s grandson.

The works very much tie into the theme of over-coming adversity, Norman painted and sketched on all sorts of surfaces, whatever was available.

An important part of the exhibition’s time at Greenfield Arts is the opportunity it gives many locals from those at primary school through to older adults to engage with Norman’s story and his work. Workshops with Year 10 students and members of the Men’s Cree at Greenfield Arts will encourage them to think about the issues the work evokes and the social context of the time and they will respond by creating work that reflects challenges, opportunities now in our community and in their culture, which will be showcased in an exhibition at the end of the Cornish run (16.12.19-20/12/19)

“Greenfield Arts is delighted to host this exhibition, curated by the family, exploring the determination and perseverance of Cornish in his journey as an artist”, commented Katy Milne, Director of Greenfield Arts. “Our programme, ‘Inspired by Cornish’, encourages the young people and the wider community to reflect on their own skills and attributes through a range of high-quality creative opportunities including a project with an exhibition response, sketchbook workshops, primary school activity and an arts award project.”

Dorothy Cornish added, “There is a growing interest in the schools to engage in a study of the life and works of Norman Cornish. I’m delighted to be involved at Greenfield Arts, offering interactive learning to primary schools through a cross-curricular approach and using Norman Cornish’s artwork as inspiration.”