Banbury art shop owner sets up fund in memory of his mum to help disadvantaged young adults

Barry Whitehouse, owner of The Artery, in Banbury, with his mother, Margaret, who died last year of cancer. NNL-170702-095327001

Barry Whitehouse, owner of The Artery, in Banbury, with his mother, Margaret, who died last year of cancer. NNL-170702-095327001

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Disadvantaged young adults who want to learn how to paint or draw will be able to take advantage of a fund set up in memory a local art lover.

Margaret Whitehouse, the mother of The Artery owner Barry, died of a fast-growing cancer last year after a three-month battle.

Now, a year after her death, Mr Whitehouse has set up a memorial fund which is offering free art lessons to three underprivileged youngsters.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Mr Whitehouse said his mother was a lover of art and used to help out at the shop.

He said: “She was frightened of being forgotten. I thought about how the shop could honour her memory, so I came up with a memorial fund for 18 to 25-year-olds who have missed out on any art education.

“We didn’t have much money when I was growing up but my parents were very supportive of my art and my exhibitions. This is a nice way of giving back to the art community.

“My mum was more into crafts than art although she used to paint and draw. She used to write her own stories and went to art college for a while but as she got older, she got into crafts and card making.”

The fund is being launched on March 2, on what would have been Mrs Whitehouse’s 73rd birthday. It will be offered to young adults who missed out on opportunities while studying in mainstream education, and whose financial situation means they cannot afford to pay.

Once the fund is satisfied the applicants meet the criteria, they will be able to join one of The Artery’s workshops for free for six months from July, a total of almost £1,000 in free art education each time.

Every six months, the fund will be opened to three new applicants.

Although The Artery will be footing the bill for the lessons, it is hoped if any other funding becomes available, the programme could be expanded to more applicants.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the fund can do so.

The Artery has also launched the Margaret Whitehouse Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement. This will be an annual award given to one of its students who has excelled in a particular piece of work.

The winner will receive the award along with a £50 gift voucher to spend in the shop during Banbury Art Festival, which will be held on June 11 in conjunction with the Banbury and District Show.