Thursday, 17 February 2011

Keeping art alive at Fairlynch

Fairlynch: much more than a museum

It's got a unique collection of costumes going back to the early 1700s, a display of archaeological and geological specimens including some curious radioactive nodules from the local cliffs, and some fascinating archive material giving us an insight into life over the centuries in Budleigh Salterton.

But the thatched cottage orné sitting in a beautiful garden overlooking the town's Fore Street is much more than a museum. Its full name is Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre, and over the years it has built up a small but select collection of visual art covering several specific areas of local interest.

Overheat by Devon-based artist Simon Ripley

Fairlynch also has its own Education Officer, Amanda Murrell, who works with local schoolchildren on a variety of projects. She recently hosted a total of 51 children and accompanying adults at the museum. Two schools, the Beacon Church of England Primary School in Exmouth and St Peter's Church of England Primary School in Budleigh Salterton have been working in partnership together on an arts project organised by the Devon Arts in Schools Initiative (DAiSI).

With help from two professional artists, Simon Ripley and Sara Sullivan, the children were aiming to produce work reflecting their local environment and heritage, explains Amanda. "They visited Fairlynch to find out more about Sir Walter Raleigh and the Budleigh cliffs and pebbles."

"I am passionate about teaching. I want to see children grow up with an openness to art and their own creativity,” says Sara, an environmental artist living and working in Devon. She uses both natural and recycled materials for projects in schools all over the county.

Simon Ripley, one of the artists who has been working with local schoolchildren at Fairlynch Museum

Simon Ripley's art education started in London but he qualified in Fine Art Printmaking at Plymouth, and is now based in Exeter. He specialises in making linocut relief monoprints on handmade Japanese paper. Each piece is unique, individually inspired and hand printed by Simon himself.

For more information about Simon Ripley and Sara Sullivan, click on and
For details of the Devon Arts in Schools Initiative see

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