Contemporary Art in Rural Northumberland: VARC Exhibition Weekend

The weekend commencing Saturday 30 June sees the opening of Visual Arts in Rural Communities’ (VARC) Exhibition Weekend, and what a treat it’s looking to be! Based at Highgreen in the rural parish of Tarset, which is five miles north-west of Bellingham, VARC are passionate about utilising the beautiful Northumberland countryside to showcase contemporary art and sculpture.

The Exhibition Weekend promises to be a fun-filled weekend of exploring: view contemporary art in outbuildings; discover sculptures on the moors; listen to talks from VARC artists or satisfy your creative streak with drop-in art activities suitable for all ages. Visitors can also see VARC’s outdoor earth oven in action, and will be able to enjoy all events, refreshments and activities for FREE – in celebration of Great Northumberland 2018.

VARC Highgreen.jpg

Highlights of the weekend include the ‘Artists in Conversation’ series, with talks from Seoul-born artist, Joo-Hee Yang, who will exhibit work made during her 2017–18 residency at VARC and Northumberland-based artists, Karen Melvin, Claudia Sacher and Grace Warde-Aldam, who have created a new work in an uninhabited cottage at Highgreen, entitled No 3: stories in a house retold.

No 3: Stories in a house retoldis inspired by the atmosphere of an uninhabited house. Sacher and Melvin have used the bare plaster walls of the cottage as a work surface; Sacher’s charcoal and ink drawings of human/spirit forms fill the rooms; Melvin has created dream-like montage images through drawing and photography, and Warde-Aldam introduces A Life Unworn, which examines how our possessions and domestic spaces speak in our absence. Visitors are also invited to explore the fells, looking out for Khosro Adibi’s moorland sculptures on a leisurely 1 – 2-hour walk.


The VARC Exhibition Weekend, in collaboration with Highgreen Arts, takes place across the weekend of Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July. Yang’s end of residency exhibition is open from 1pm – 6pm daily; drop-in art activities with artist, Megan Randall also take place from 1pm – 6pm.

Artists in Conversation: Joo-Hee Yang’s talk is scheduled for 3pm; Karen Melvin, Claudia Sacher and Grace Warde-Aldam are scheduled for 4pm, daily.


Highgreen, Tarset, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 1RP

Please do note that the site is uneven with a slope and steps to parts. Access to artworks in No 3is via steep stairs.

Book a Coach From Newcastle, Hexham or Billingham

On Saturday 30 June, a special coach will be running to the event from Newcastle, Hexham and Bellingham. For more information, and to book a seat on the coach, please visit the link, below: