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Expansion sees gallery challenge for Norfolk’s biggest art space

PUBLISHED: 14:57 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:57 16 January 2018

Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Artist and illustrator John Stevens MBE, now works from the newly acquired studio.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Artist and illustrator John Stevens MBE, now works from the newly acquired studio. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2018

An art gallery that opened last year has already expanded and now has a permanent artist in residence.

Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018 Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Norski Noo’s in Dereham is run by Andy Sullivan and offers exhibition space to dozens of artists and crafters from the local area.

He also teamed up with picture framer Paul Sheffield to offer a framing and restoration service.

But after expanding into a neighbouring empty premises it is close to becoming the largest gallery in Norfolk.

“We must have 450 original pieces of artwork in the gallery now,” said Mr Sullivan.

Andy Sullivan who runs Dereham Art Gallery Norski Noo's. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018 Andy Sullivan who runs Dereham Art Gallery Norski Noo's. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Now, fine artist and illustrator John Stevens, a former RAF wing commander whose painting hobby has turned into a full time occupation, has come on board to be the artist in residence.

Mr Stevens has exhibited his work all over Norfolk and with the Guild of Aviation Artists in London, as well as illustrating several books.

But his art is not limited to aviation history although his military inspired work has incredible attention to detail.

“People like to see an artist putting the paint on the canvas,” he said. “It brings it to life. I get asked to paint all sorts of things, from boats to houses and pets. You can never tell what people will want.”

Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Artist and illustrator John Stevens MBE, now works from the newly acquired studio.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018 Dereham Art Gallery, Norski Noo has expanded and taken on a resident artist. Artist and illustrator John Stevens MBE, now works from the newly acquired studio. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Mr Stevens has a studio at home in Whinburgh but being in the centre of Dereham now gives him more opportunities for commissions.

“This gallery works really well becuase all the artists are mixed up on the walls and people have to look at them all individually to see what style they like,” he said. “You don’t know what’s round the corner.”

He is keen to focus on Norfolk’s history and transfer it to canvas. He has just completed a Pocahontas painting, and a Nelson inspired piece was sold before it was even finished.

The extra space also means the gallery can start art and craft workshops and lessons for those keen to learn from the experts.

Andy Sullivan in Norski Noo's extra gallery space for local artists. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018 Andy Sullivan in Norski Noo's extra gallery space for local artists. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

And Mr Sullivan has been asked by the family of farmer and painter Joe Godderidge to sell a collection of his original paintings. Mr Godderidge, who lived at Stanfield, near Dereham, died at the age of 86 last year. An exhibition and sale of his artwork based on heavy horses and farming starts next month.

Find out more at www.norskinoosgallery.com.

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