Creative Minds is a wizard invention for creatives across the towns and villages of the Fylde Coast and instigated by Debby Godfrey-Brown, owner of Oak Tree Studio at the corner of Bloomfield Road and Lytham Road. The venue hosts regular monthly get-togethers when we creatives can explore the latest exhibition, natter, laugh a good deal, and drink if we so wish.

To me, Creative Minds exemplifies what has been happening over my lifetime in the Arts (I was born in 1946, and utterly reject the notion that the arts are solely ‘for the young’).

The concept takes full advantage of how technology is assisting us to become ever more expert in self-publication and promotion.  Not only Andy Warhol recognised that in the future every one of us would enjoy our fifteen minutes of fame.

The current Oak Tree exhibition is one that the members of Creative Minds were fortunate enough to get a preview of at our March get-together, shown in the featured image by Claire Griffiths.

Leigh Ireland has done an inspired job in what I call his Focus on Fylde Coast; fifteen or so photos capturing the estuaries of the River Wyre and the River Ribble and so much of the coastline inbetween.  So exact are the photographs, which come in different framed sizes from small to gigantic, that one can almost smell the sea air and hear whether water is moving or still. The focus moves from close-ups through to a striking panorama at Lytham with the settlements on the south bank of the Ribble, through which I used to travel by train to our neighbouring resort of Southport which lurks on the horizon of the shot.

One of the reasons Debby Godfrey-Brown gives for her determination to make Oak Tree Studio work is the paucity of exhibition space throughout the Fylde Coast for the many local talented artists to display their work.  Students at the excellent art department at Blackpool & Fylde College are pushed towards Manchester or London as really the only places worth exhibiting.

Debby at Oak Tree, and Corinne Streetly at Blott on King Street, aim to prove that view is just blinkered.

Do make time to check out not only this exhibition, featuring the talent of Leigh Ireland, but the presentations on a regular basis of the works of local artists and do buy the works on sale.

And do watch out online for the monthly meetings of Creative Minds – the hive mind of a creative network can assist us mightily in finding inspiration. It is pleasing to hear that Robin Ross has finally, finally, finally persuaded the Powers That Be in charge of the Grundy Municipal Art Gallery on Queen Street to display work being created NOW by local artists; surely the key purpose of a municipal art gallery.


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