South Yorkshire town’s hidden artists go on display

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A new exhibition of the ‘hidden’ works of more than 20 past Barnsley artists has opened at the town’s Cooper Gallery.

In 2012, the Heritage Lottery Fund granted the voluntary group Barnsley Art on Your Doorstep £50,000 for a two-year learning programme culminating in this exhibition.

Most of the artists were born in Barnsley borough and many achieved national, or even international recognition. Yet despite this, their Barnsley life and origins have been forgotten.

Hugh Polehampton, chair of the group, said: “This has been a fascinating journey. Five years ago we thought that we would have fewer than 10 past artists to tell people about. Now we have nearly 30.

“These past artists were involved in every aspect of Barnsley’s history, including its industrial history. Artists came from glassmaking, coal mining and linen weaving families. They came from every level of Barnsley society. They became painters, sculptors, designers of glass, tiles, wallpaper and costume and were also illustrators.”

The free Hidden Art of Barnsley runs until August 30 at the Church Street gallery.