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Imagine your painting sitting side-by-side with a professional’s in a glow in the dark art gallery. You could be doing just that this summer.

Five top local artists are contributing sketches and challenging local children to ignite their creative flair when Art in the Dark – a one-off free to attend event – comes to the Grosvenor Shopping Centre this month.

The works of art sent in by Ralph McGaul, Mark Warrington, Erika Groeneveld, Jacki Clarke and Mike Thorpe have been produced with the aim of helping aspiring artists bring a touch of colour to Macclesfield’s shopping centre on Tuesday 13 August, between 11am and 3pm, when one unit is turned into a hub of artistic imagination.

From paintbrushes and aprons, to canvas’ and an abundance of neon paint, local children will have everything at their hands to bring their very own masterpieces to life for the first two hours.

Then, between 1pm and 3pm, the unit will be converted in to an exquisite art gallery with a twist. It will be in total darkness and illuminated only by the art created by Macclesfield’s future artists earlier that day.

Those pieces will be joined by neon sketches from the five-star painters, while adults and children from Space 4 Autism, the locally-run charity group, have also contributed their own pieces.

Mike Thorpe, will be on hand to observe and lend his expertise to aspiring painters on the day.

Ed Kennedy, centre manager at Grosvenor Shopping Centre, said: “We have really looked at different ways we can engage with local children during this six-week holiday and we’re excited to be running Art in the Dark in Unit 38 – across from Timpson – this month.

“Everybody loves to draw and paint creative pictures and we are encouraging as many local children as possible to come down and bring a splash of colour to the Grosvenor Shopping Centre this summer. I can’t wait to see the gallery packed full of glowing pictures at the end!

“We’re also very excited that five top local artists have contributed to this event and are pleased that they were so keen to support this local initiative and inspire the town’s future artists.”

Jacki Clarke, a Fine Art graduate from Newcastle upon Tyne, added: “I was interested in taking part in Art in the Dark as the challenge of creating art that is intended for darkness rather than the light was exciting. Most artwork loses its sense and identity in the night, however these pieces spring to life and cannot be fully appreciated until the light has gone.

“The school holidays offer a less stressful time for children to be able to take part in activities and allows them the freedom to explore and experiment at their own pace to broaden their knowledge, learn new techniques and approach familiar subjects in new and interesting ways. I am pleased to help facilitate events where everyone can enjoy participating in whatever way they can.”

The unique art session is the latest move Macclesfield’s shopping centre has taken to engage local children during the six-week school holidays.

Since 25 July, free Make and Take workshops have been running every Thursday, between 11am and 3pm at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. Further craft and activity sessions will be held on 15, 22 and 29 August and are the perfect classes to attend to keep kids entertained this summer.
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