ARTISTS, craftspeople and creators have come together for the opening of a new arts centre.

Darlington-based Cornerstone Arts is holding a weekend of events over the bank holiday to celebrate the opening of its new centre in the former Marks and Spencer's building in Northgate.

The old department store has been transformed into an art gallery, with space for artists and craftspeople to demonstrate their work, and hold workshops, as well as provide performance areas.

Darlington Arts Centre was officially opened yesterday in an event attended by Mayor of Darlington, councillor Chris McEwan and MP Peter Gibson.

Cllr McEwan, who cut the ribbon, said: "In a previous role, one of the great upsets was the loss of Marks and Spencer's but it's certainly delight and a to see the repurposing of this building.

"Culture in our society and our community, not just in our town but in our country, is of critical importance and its good to see projects like this.

The Northern Echo:

"It's not just to continue our rich theme of culture in our country and our society, but also to provide an important set of skills for our young people as well in terms of creativity.

"They often say jobs in 30 years time will really rely on people who have skills in innovation and creativity. It's centres like this that remind us of the importance of creativity."

Cornerstone Arts took over the building in January and had planned to open earlier in the year, but had to delay in light of the coronavirus.

Louise Maddison, who runs Cornerstone Arts, said: "Thank you to all the volunteers and the people who have helped to get this dream to fruition.

The Northern Echo:

Artist Andy Boylett, who is displaying work at Cornerstone Arts Centre

"To all the many, many many people who worked so hard and put so much in, both in the man power and the help and support they've given me every step of the way, without whom we couldn't have got this dream off the ground. Thanks for all the support."

Over the bank holiday weekend, artists will be showcasing their work, including the Northern Echo’s cartoonist John Longstaff, illustrator Brian Lee, mother and daughter artists Mary and Merlyn Griffiths and sculptor Andy Boylett.

The Northern Echo:

Darlington MP Peter Gibson taking a look at some of the art on display

There will also be a photographic exhibition, drumming workshops suitable for all ages and a screening of The Curator, but Darlington-based film company Broken Scar Productions.

It is open between 10am and 6pm from today.