In the winter of 1995, a small group of like-minded artists joined forces.

They all needed a place to develop their art but were struggling to find somewhere to hang their creative hats.

So much so, some even considered moving away from the fells and lakes altogether because they couldn't find affordable studios to rent.

Little did Jill Pemberton, Fiona Clucas, Donna Campbell, Catherine MacDiarmid and Trish Adcock know then they were building the foundations of a remarkable community arts group.

A group that evolved quickly into Kendal's Green Door Studio artists, a celebrated band of creators who this year commemorate their tenth anniversary with GD10, a special exhibition running at the Brewery Arts Centre's Warehouse Gallery until July 3.

Ten years ago, with support from Lene Bragger, the then Kendal arts centre's visual arts officer, the determined group trailed around Kendal to try to find suitable studio space.

Legend has it that they ended up at the Conservative Party offices at 112 Highgate, and approached Rosemary Howell, who was the Conservative Party agent responsible for the first and second floors.

"Lene knocked on the door and asked if they'd any space," remembers Jill. "Rosemary said yes we have'.

"It was serendipity."

The first artists moved in and, with a small budget, lots of energy and volunteer helpers, they built the spaces and added lighting and basic heating.

Their first exhibition was at Boon's former chemist shop on the corner of Kendal's Market Square in September 1996.

These days, GDS has 12 artists' spaces and 60-plus associate members and its creative output has never been better.

Taking time out from hanging the GD10 exhibition, Jill, with Fiona Clucas and another GDS stalwart Paul Clark, all agreed the GDS success story owes a lot to its concept of community,' sharing ideas, expertise and offering plenty of support to each other.

"The link with other artists is missing when you work on your own," added Paul.

Fiona feels that being around the corner from the Brewery was also a bonus when they signed up for the studios as Highgate, Abbot Hall and Kirkland are often regarded as the cultural quarter of the town.

Green Door group shows have been hugely successful spreading the word across the region.

One highlight was the Millennium Mural project, which toured to great acclaim. Nearly every school and college in the area has worked with Green Door members at one time or another, either as artists-in-residence, on special projects, the Millennium project and the Big Draw.

Schools have seen the value of linking with GDS with the Highgate HQ providing work experience opportunities for youngsters from local colleges and sixth forms.

The GD10 show is every bit as striking and balanced as you'd expect from such a highly creative outfit.

It features almost 50 pieces of artwork, including a new tryptich from Catherine MacDiarmid; a colourful and vibrant constructed textile from Zohar Peleg-Hartley; and The Chair - a vivid taster from Jill's forthcoming 2006 solo show.

Fresh face among the GDS crew, Dominic Kelly, is set to impress with his Yan, an incredibly detailed, Celtic-like gouache image on paper, as will others such as Julie Scott with her seductive Shoal and Light underwater-scape; David Fulford and his painting of Whitbarrow Trees; and AsArt's Jenny Wroe's creative timepiece' mixed media Untitled So Far.

Paul Clark is in highly experimental mode once again with an oil and bitumen on canvas piece and Rachel Greenbank's amazing technique shines brightly alongside her fellow Green Door stars.

Hilary Fell's fascinating See the Pattern in the Whole is certain to be the focus of plenty of attention and if you want a painting of a stag, they don't come much better than wildlife artist's Marianne Birkby's Red Form and Light.

And on the ceramics front, Angie Mitchell's Blackbirds are an absolute treat.

Although GD10 is a super show, it only scratches the surface as regards the tremendous depth of talent and work each individual artist possess.

With the advent of its tenth anniversary, Jill informs me the group has taken a hard look at itself and started to think about how to move forward during the next decade.

"We desperately want to find new premises. We need to be able to have opportunities for sculptors, printmakers and ceramicists to take spaces. So we need ground floors.

"We need to have parking and access for all so that we can run more on-site classes and workshops. And an in-house gallery would be great.

"Our future will always revolve around the studios and providing that affordable space for emerging artists to rent," continues Jill.

"If we want our talent to stay in this area we need to provide the means to keep it here."

Jill says that in an inner city environment GDS would be looking at old mills and vacant industrial space to develop.

No easy task in Kendal.

However, they know that somewhere there is a large space just waiting to have Green Door emblazoned above the door.

"Just as we did ten years ago, we will go out hunting for it."

l Anyone who can help the GDS artists expand and find a new home should contact 01539-721147 or e-mail;

Visit Green Door Studios in our CommuniGate - Arts and Lit section at (link below).