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There is a rumour cascading through a small town in Northumberland that someone from London is coming to open an art gallery! Well, almost true. The Whistle Art Stop is a new, artist driven initiative that will bring opportunities to young, emerging and local artists and a programme of events and workshops for the local people of Haltwhistle.

Project manager: My name is Alison Raimes (some of you might know me as Spacexcape in the virtual world) and I was born in Kent but brought up in Hexham. Originally, I worked in restaurant management and after three years working as a chef on yachts in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and the USA, I opened a restaurant in Plymouth. A victim of the 1990’s recession, my business collapsed and I started studies in art at Plymouth College of Art and Design and then at Manchester Metropolitan University. I did one year of my MA at Kent Institute of Art and Design before I ran out of money! Since then, I have been practicing art from one of Bow Arts studios in East London and working as a finance administrator for art and education charities.

The Project: So here I am in Haltwhistle, Northumberland – the Centre of Britain! I came to look for affordable studio space as London prices keep going up and wanted to be in easy reach of Hexham. It has become very difficult for me to get work in London now that the funding cuts have hit the art organisations so badly. I’ll be working with a team of local artists to deliver the programme and to help make this project a huge success. So if you would like to be part of it, or are looking for space to work and show in, then do get in touch.

Haltwhistle seems to be the perfect place for an arts community – there is an abundance of empty spaces to make and show art from and the town is accessible. It’s a lovely place too with great friendly people who have been more than welcoming and lots of interest in art activities.


So I hope to meet many more people through the arts programme that we will be running. Drop in for at my studio – the Old Label Store on the Hadrian Enterprise Park, when we open and you will receive a warm welcome. We want to hear what the people of Haltwhistle want. Just tell us and we will deliver it for you – we need your support!