Artists enjoy French exchange trip

French exchange for Arlington artists
French exchange for Arlington artists

Two local artists are keeping up a rural cultural exchange with a small village in northern France.

Landscape artist and illustrator, Anne Howard, and resident artist at Gallery North, Hailsham, Josie Tipler, represented the Arlington Arts group on their visit to France last weekend to exhibit works of art as part of the Festival Franco Anglais 2013 in Ponches, Picardy.

The two artists visited the festival in 2010 after Josie, chair of Arlington Arts Group, was contacted by the president of Les Amis du patrimoine Ponchois at vallee d’Authie wishing to renew a cultural twinning that had been started a few years previously between the parishes of Arlington in Sussex and Ponches Estruval in Picardy.

In 2011, Arlington returned the favour and were host to several French musicians, an artist and a craftsperson who accompanied the president to take part in the first ever Arlington Arts Festival.

“We were treated like royalty when we visited Ponches,” said Josie Tipler.

“We were invited as guests to two champagne receptions with the local mayors and to all five classical concerts in the churches of Dompierre and Ponches, and to the festival meal.

“More than 200 French, English and Dutch musicians and artists descended on the small rural villages and were welcomed with open arms by all the locals.

“I was delighted to sell my painting of St Pancras Church, Arlington, to the president of the association who wanted it as a memory of her visit to us in 2011.”

This year’s Arlington Arts Festival starts on June 15 with live music by the Cajun Dawgs and includes an Art Demonstration and Workshop by Josie Tipler on June 17, as well as the large Art & Craft Show on June 22/23.

The cultural exchange will continue with a return visit to Arlington by representatives from Ponches in 2014, possibly coinciding with the Hailsham Festival of Arts & Culture in September. More details on