A-star award for Rachel’s art class at Belton

Art award: Rachel Connolly has been running art classes at Belton Garden Centre for four years.
Art award: Rachel Connolly has been running art classes at Belton Garden Centre for four years.

A group of local art students received top marks in a painting competition in aid of The Lincolnshire Churches Trust.

Held every two years, the event is organised by artist Jane Ford together with other members of the trust to help raise money to provide grants for Lincolnshire’s heritage of churches to help with repairs.

Entrants were asked to choose any Lincolnshire Church to paint, draw, collage or even sew a close up, distant view or feature of the church interior or exterior.

Rachel Connolly who runs The Art Room at Belton Garden Centre, encouraged her students to have a go during her spring term and ended up submitting 54 entries into the exhibition from her classes alone.

She said: “All the students worked very hard and produced some outstanding pieces of work.”

Seven students received ‘highly commended’ for their work including Rachel who submitted a painting of Syston Church from a photograph she took from the river looking across to Syston village. Student Caroline Stanley received fourth prize with a lino cut, which will also be used for the Lincolnshire Church Trust Christmas card. The paintings were exhibited at the Bluestone Gallery in Wiltshire earlier this month before moving to The Church of St Peter and St Paul at Gosberton near Spalding.

Rachel Connolly has run The Art Room for four years and teaches up to 70 students every week across five classes. They cover a variety of media including drawing, watercolour, mixed media and collage.

Rachel added: “My background is in graphic design and illustration. I have taught art classes in the area since I relocated here from Yorkshire 20 years ago. I originally worked for New Horizons at Belvoir High School in Bottesford before biting the bullet and going self employed 11 years ago. We have students of all ages with the eldest being 85 years old. We tend to follow a different theme each term and are currently focusing on the seashore and riverbank this term, finishing with an exhibition at the end of the month. I use the exhibition to showcase what we have covered in the previous year and to fill classes for the following new academic year in September.”

Rachel’s classes run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at The Art Room at Belton Garden Centre. To find out more about her classes, please call 01400 250711 for further information. You can also visit www.lincolnshirechurchestrust.org.uk.