Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage

Staithes Festival has established itself as one of the friendliest festivals on the coast – a must-see event in the regional arts calendar.

Festival 2024 is on Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 September, with preview night 7pm-8.30pm Friday 13 September

Doors of cottages are thrown open as pop-up art galleries in a unique selling exhibition. 

Celebrating the history and heritage of Staithes with a programme of walks, talks, photographs, and film shows.

North York Moors, Scarborough Borough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire

Glenn Kilpatrick

Art in Staithes

Staithes Group

The Staithes Group of artists

Staithes has long been a magnet for artists. In the late 19th Century a group that included Laura Johnson (later Dame Laura Knight), Harold Knight, Joseph Bagshawe, Fred Mayor, Hannah Hoyland, Robert and Isa Jobling, Charles Mackie and others formed from artists who came here to paint. They lived and worked together loosely for a few years, lodging with local fisherman, paying them as models, sharing in their lives and tragedies. They have become regarded as a highly significant artists' colony known as the Staithes Group, exhibiting in the village and in Whitby. See examples of their largely impressionist work here.

Contemporary art

In the same spirit, art has continued in the village with many fine painters, photographers and sculptors inspired by spending time between the two cliffs.  Today, the Staithes Gallery is a showcase for contemporary art inspired by Staithes and the surrounding area, while Staithes Studios Gallery features contemporary fine art and crafts and regular art workshops. 

Staithes Arts and Crafts Centre at St Peter’s Centre on Church Street stages a selling exhibition (Easter to October) for local artists and crafts people and then there are any number of painters, sculptures, ceramicists, photographers, textile and glass artists who live, work or are inspired by this very special village.

Staithes Museum in the High Street features artisan craft shops, open 11-4pm Sat-Thurs.

An artist's view of the festival

Says artist Sue Frater: "To be part of Staithes Art Festival weekend is a very special experience. You not only get to exhibit your work in historical cottages but also to meet so many people who are genuinely interested in your work and how it's created. The best thing of all is when you return the following year and find your paintings hanging on the walls of these lovely cottages." Sue will be showing in Old Jack's Cottage.

Says artist Ian Burdall: "I have taken part in every festival since it started, and for me it's the best of its kind. Houses as galleries is a format used elsewhere but nowhere comes close to this for charm, location, vibrancy and energy. Since its conception a dedicated team of people have put on a tremendously well-organised event for both the public and participating artists. Not only are the visual arts represented but music, spoken word and food appear on street corners on the seafront and in the many alleyways. No one is left behind. And as much as it is fun it is a serious selling event. People come with the intention to buy art as well as enjoy the evening film shows, light installations and music." Ian will be showing in the chapel above Staithes Museum.

Artists currently living and working full time in the village

Colin Harrison - photographer

Steve Iredale - chainsaw sculpture 01947 840815

Lucy Wilson - artist  01947 841198

Carole Zagrovic - Staithes photographs   01947 841233 / 07815005431