A PILOT art project has been extended for another three months because of its success.

The Open Art Studio will start again next month.

The drop-in initiative, based at the Arts Centre, Vane Terrace, Darlington, is open to anyone over the age of 16 with an interest in art.

It employs 14 artists in oil painting, ceramics, printing, digital photography, stained glass and textiles and is run by Darlington Borough Council and Darlington Primary Care Trust.

The council's arts development officer, Kevin Edwards, said: "It has proved really successful and we have the beginnings of a nice little artistic community.

"We have a lot of facilities here at the Arts Centre but sometimes people don't want to sign up for a full-time course. At the Open Arts Studio they can just drop in when they feel like it."

Darlington care trust's mental health improvement specialist, Vicky Waterson, said: "The links between art and mental well-being are fast becoming recognised and I am delighted the project has proved so successful."

Artist Gordon Hamilton said: "It gives me personal sense of satisfaction and is a springboard for learning."

Artist Petra Lloyd said: "We cover everything from basic drawing to lino printing techniques. People really love the ceramics.

"They find it therapeutic and calming and something in which they can lose themselves."

The course starts on Monday and runs every Monday, from 10am to 3pm, for 12 weeks.

For more information, contact Mr Edwards on 01325-348849 or Bonnie Davies on 01325-348848.