ARTISTS and patrons of a thriving community arts centre have celebrated the venue's second anniversary.

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts, in Hundens Lane, opened in 2012, shortly after the closure of the much-loved Darlington Arts Centre due to council spending cuts.

Although The Bridge is not seen as a replacement for the Arts Centre, it has provided a hub for creative people from Darlington and further afield.

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As well as arts and crafts, there was food, music and entertainment at a celebration of the venue's second anniversary on Saturday.

Darlington's former mayor and mayoress, Charles and Carol Johnson, planted trees to mark the anniversary.

Bonnie Davies, one of the project managers at The Bridge, said there was every reason to be optimistic about the future of the venue.

She said: "We are in year two of a three-year plan which we hope will secure the long-term future of The Bridge.

"We don't take anything for granted, but the council gives us the building rent-free and we are hopeful it will continue to support us in the future.

"The Bridge is a growing asset for Darlington, more and more people are starting to get involved and see it as an opportunity for artists to get together and put on exhibitions.

"We have 27 classes running 30 weeks of the year and six art groups meeting here regularly.

"It is a fantastic thing that's happening."

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