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Appledore Visual Arts Festival exhibition

Appledore is a picturesque town on the estuary where the rivers Taw and Torridge flow into Bideford Bay on the romantic North Devon coast.Built on a hillside, it was described by the Victorian writer Charles Kingsley as a ├Člittle, white fishing village,├« but its tranquillity and genteel appearance belie its history.
Appledore's maze of narrow streets, with their jumble of closely packed and brightly painted cottages once housed fishermen and shipyard workers. It was only a few decades ago that it was a fishing hub and had a thriving shipyard where more than 350 ships were built.
But it went into receivership in 2003 and many jobs were lost. The vibrancy of that time is still reflected in the town's annual visual arts festival, now in its 13th year.
This year the theme Coastline reflected the varied aspects of life by the sea, from environmental threats to changing lives.
The festival is firmly rooted in the local community and run by local artists and residents like Appledore's renowned ceramicist Sandy Brown who was one of the founders of the festival alongside Ken Sprague.
In only four days the festival crams in an amazing array of over 70 activities and events related as far as possible to the area and its history and culture for both adults and children.
The festival always collaborates with a local art college and this year it was Falmouth, which put on a show of graduate and post-graduate crafts. Also on show was the Money Makes The World Go Round exhibition, a colaboration between the Ken Sprague International Political Cartoon Competition and the festival organisers.
Its satirical depiction of the present global economic crisis resonated strongly and raised a smile from visitors scrutinising each drawing. A building worker working next to the gallery looked in and expressed amazement at how people from so many countries had the same problems.
Ken Sprague Fund Chairman and Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson's trademark provocative illustrated evening lecture explained how cartooning came about and how mirth and sardonic humour are vital for the health of society and help us challenge hubristic politicians and the wealthy elite, hauling them from their pedestals back to earth.