ART of every imaginable kind is on show in this year's Milnthorpe Annual Art Exhibition.

Well, more or less.

One of the region's biggest and (arguably) most popular art exhibitions, it opens today (Thursday) and runs through until Sunday on display in every available nook and cranny within St Thomas' Church.

This year the exhibition celebrates its 30th anniversary, three decades since the late Ken Last, a founder member of Milnthorpe Men’s Forum, suggested holding an art exhibition in St Thomas’ as a way of raising money for both the Church Restoration Fund and other local charities and good causes. The first exhibition was held in 1990 and featured only 30 paintings and 27 photographs, most of which were for display only not for sale.

Down the years, MAAE has donated more than £170,000 to 52 charities and other good causes.

This year, as well as St Thomas’ Church, the exhibition will support North West Air Ambulance, the Bendrigg Trust and Eversley Choir.

On show for the 2019 gathering will be nigh on 600 exhibits by 200 artists with three creators taken the mantle of featured artists: Peter Threlfall, Jean Pritchard and William H Jones.

Peter is originally from Liverpool and has always been a professional artist, the first part of his career as an illustrator. He studied 3D Design at College in the 1980s and paints in acrylics and watercolours: "My paintings are impressions of the subjects, I paint instinctively and freely and will sacrifice precision for atmosphere."

Peter can often be found painting in Pier Lane Gallery, at Arnside, which he runs with his wife Caren and their friend and colleague Trevor Brown.

Meanwhile, Jean is a wildlife artist based in Ireleth, over at Askam-in-Furness. She was trained as a scientific illustrator at Blackpool Art College, where she developed her eye for detail.

Her uncle, the late Artist T. Leslie Hawkes, encouraged her detailed work when she was young and often gave her painting lessons.

She has worked in various locations doing creative things including working at a pottery company near Poulton-le-Fylde designing the transfers for the china.

After putting her art on hold to bring up her daughter she decided to get back into what she loves 10 years ago.

She exhibits in her local art societies and regularly exhibited in the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art and The Lake Society of Artists. Her originals go all over the world as well as her limited edition prints.

Jean has twice been a finalist in the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year and has exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London.

She also exhibits regularly with the Association of Wildlife Artists and won its Best British Wildlife Award as well as their Children's Choice award.

Last year she started exhibiting at the Exhibition of Wildlife Art on the Wirral, a place for all the top wildlife artist to exhibit in the North of England.

She does a fair amount of pet portrait work too. She says her passion is "painting a moment, a highlight, a look, in the wonderful world of wildlife."

William Jones needs little introduction. Born in Bolton, he studied graphic design at Bolton College of Art and Design, graduating in 1973. Since, he has sold scores of works in a variety of media, from watercolours, to pastels before settling on his preferred medium of oils.

As a professional artist he has been based in Cumbria for the past 29 years and has become one of the county's best known and popular painters. The beautiful scenery that surrounds him acts as inspiration for his work. With an established reputation in landscape and portraiture painting, William and his wife Bernadette ran the successful Finestra Gallery in Kirkby Lonsdale for 14 years, and have now opened William's home studio as a gallery at Dairy Cottage displaying solely his own work. He was elected president of Kirkby Lonsdale Art Society in 1997, is a past president of Kendal Art Society and has exhibited for many years in open exhibitions across the north.