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Anguish for artists at centre




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Pottery enthusiasts from the Newark area are campaigning against changes to services at Rufford Ceramics Centre.

Almost 700 people have signed a petition againstchanges they fear will lead to the closure of the centre, run by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Campaign leader, Miss Katie Greenfield (33) of Lime Grove, Newark, is hoping to receive support from famous potters and other celebrities.

She is calling for the council to hold a public consultation to determine the future of the centre. The council has agreed to meet the campaigners in the new year.

Miss Greenfield, who has visited the centre regularly for about 20 years, said she understood ceramics would no longer be sold at the centre and that the gallery could be hired by community groups.

She said all support in curating exhibitions would be withdrawn and, as artists did not have time to do this themselves, they would go elsewhere.

It was also thought the council’s long-term commitment to staging Earth and Fire, the ceramics selling fair, was under question, and the changes would herald the end for Rufford as an internationally-renowned centre of excellence for ceramics.

Mr Carl Gray (43) of Chapel Lane, Coddington, an enthusiast and student of ceramics, is supporting the campaign.

He said the centre was unique and, if the changes went ahead, it would go from being a centre of national importance to insignificant.

A spokesman for the county council said the council’s collection of ceramics would continue to be displayed.

She said the gallery space would be available for nationally and internationally-recognised artists and they looked forward to supporting them.

“As is the case now, requests to use the space will be quality controlled to keep the visitor experience at the highest levels.”

She said there were plans to expand the workshop/educational programme at the centre to give more local people, especially schools and local community groups access to the excellent facilities.

“We are working hard to retain Rufford as a venue for high-quality work but at the same time have to make best use of Nottinghamshire tax payers money.


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