THERE will be a celebratory air around Gallery 68 this coming weekend as the Ulverston art house reaches its first birthday.

"We have always wanted to show work by both local artists and by some well-known figures from around the country," says co-owner and highly regarded Lakeland artist, Rosie Wates. "People come in and see the familiar, pieces from artists they know, but we also want that element of surprise, encountering something new and unusual from elsewhere. It's about getting the balance."

Rosie and Ulverston's Tina Balmer set up Gallery 68 in the town's picturesque Market Street as a three month pop-up, but quickly decided to make it permanent and have not looked back since.

They showcase and sell paintings, ceramics, jewellery and other works by their stable of established creators, with featured artists and exhibitions at regular intervals.

"We get fantastic feedback from our visitors, both locals and outsiders," explains Tina. "It's not just what we show that they find makes us unique, but they talk about how unusual the space is and how lovely the atmosphere. It’s not like any other gallery around here."

Highlights from 2019 include paintings from Portsmouth-based Sadie Tierney, Royal Academy-trained and Printmaker of the Year at last year's Ulverston Printfest. Also featured was the internationally-acclaimed Irish printmaker Stephen Lawlor.

Rosie and Tina have ambitious plans for 2020 and beyond. Included will be esteemed Cumbrian painter Fiona Clucas, whose landscapes with birds in different media have landed her many fans far and wide. Fiona's 2020 exhibition features large gouaches and graphite drawings. Other exhibition plans will be announced in the New Year.

Meanwhile, the gallery's regular contributors include a host of well-known names from the region's art world.

Jan Huntley-Peace's eye-catching ceramics and jewellery rub shoulders with Sally Bamber's flower watercolours and Annie Luke Turner's colourful oil and resin abstracts.

The exquisitely detailed bees which have earned Sarah Jane Bellwood many plaudits can be found alongside ceramics by Rebecca Callis or textiles by Susan Deakin incorporating stitched text.

Brighton’s Amy Douglas, who reassembles broken Staffordshire and other old porcelain in new ways is there, as are dogs and horses by Hastings artist Faye Moorhouse and vibrant oils by Lewes’ Jo Lamb.

And of course there are works by Gallery 68's two artist-owners: Tina's justly celebrated sumptuous flower paintings and Rosie's idiosyncratic photo-based abstracts.

Rosie and Tina say all are welcome to help Gallery 68 celebrate its first year on Friday, between 5pm-7pm, when they will also be opening the next exhibition, Joie.

Gallery 68 is located at 68, Market Street, open Thursday until Saturday, from 10am-5pm. Also open this Sunday (November 24) during Ulverston's Dickensian weekend.

For further information go online at