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Ancient traditions celebrated at Norfolk open church event

PUBLISHED: 18:15 07 June 2011

Art and ancient traditions are set to come alive this week as churches across Norfolk open their doors and invite visitors to discover the many artistic treasures they hold within.

Art Alive in Churches was tonight launched at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Earlham Road, Norwich, at an event which saw a poetry reading by Norfolk poet Caroline Gilfillan.

The poem, Journey of Inspiration, was commissioned for Art Alive and yesterday’s event was the first time it had been read publicly.

This year’s Art Alive in Churches focuses on defined festivals and events hosted by specific churches which showcase the skills of modern artists and craftspeople keeping ancient traditions alive.

Not only does Norfolk have more medieval churches per acre and per person than anywhere else in the world, it also has more surviving medieval rood screens than any other county.

These are the focus of a major exhibition at St John’s from tomorrow to Sunday, June 12.

Jennie Hawks, historic places of worship support officer, said: “Our medieval rood screens are one of Norfolk’s great artistic glories. I hope that our special exhibition staged in partnership with the Cathedral of St John the Baptists will encourage both local residents and visitors to explore our wonderful historic churches.”

The rood screen separates the chancel, which houses the altar, from the nave, the main body of the church. Art Alive in Churches is promoted by the Norfolk Churches Discovery Project and is also working with sculptors involved in the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail and Welborne Arts Festival.

For more details about the event, go to www.openchurches.co.uk/artalive

Are you running a community project? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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