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A Portrait of Bideford Exhibition details

BBC Postcard Exchange at DCAC Gallery

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Background: Bideford and Manteo are twin towns and this relationship is a strong historical one, especially with the Lost Colony connection we share. The people who live in these towns do not yet know each other and do not have a sense of where the other town is, what it looks like and what people that live there do on a day to day basis. The ‘Portrait of Bideford’ exhibition will be a first step for the American viewer to ‘meet’ people who live and work in Bideford, Northam and the surrounding villages of Appledore and Westward Ho! This is a fantastic opportunity for a Cultural Exchange.

The Exhibition: ‘A Portrait of Bideford’ exhibition is the next step that logically follows on from the very successful ‘Postcard Exchange’ that was jointly organised and hosted by BBC and Dare County Arts Council (DCAC) in June 2011. Postcard sized artworks were made by artists in Bideford and Manteo, mailed to each other and a simultaneous exhibition ran in June and July – in DCAC and the post office in Manteo and at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum and Bideford Post office.

Bideford Bay Creatives are curating the exhibition to introduce the townsfolk of Manteo and Roanoke Island to Bideford; it’s landscape, seascape and to some of the people who live and work there. The content will be inspired by life in Bideford, both current and historical.

The exhibition content is your creative work inspired by the Bideford area, it’s people and history. New work will be encouraged, however artwork already made that fits the theme will also be accepted. The exhibition is not set in terms of media and could feature film and sound, music, 2D and 3D art and craft. Site specific work, or work not appropriate for a white walled gallery may be if other possible locations in Manteo or on Roanoke Island are found.

Restrictions: The gallery wall-space at Dare County Arts Council Gallery is 11.5 metres by 3 metres in height; therefore there will be a restriction on the number of works that can be shown. All of the work needs to be shipped by air to the USA so please no glazed or fragile work likely to be broken in transit. Size and weight is also an issue. This is your chance to be truly creative making creative work that is both unique, easily transportable, quintessentially North Devon and extremely desirable as this is a great opportunity to sell to an American audience and make a name for yourself over there.

Ultimately decisions over what work is chosen and where it is installed is in the hands of DCAC who will be responsible for it once it is in their gallery. Work which is of poor quality or offensive is likely to remain boxed.

Eligibility: Submissions for ‘A Portrait of Bideford’ is open to all. You do not need to be a member of Bideford Bay Creatives to submit, however non-members will be offered a year’s free introductory membership for their submission. Please see entry form.


The Entry form needs to be submitted and fee paid by Sunday March 31st

Work to be also shown in Culture Show needs to be complete by Friday May 24th

All work needs to be made and ready for shipping by Sunday July 21st

 Exhibition dates:

The exhibition will take place at Dare County Arts Council Gallery in downtown Manteo in September 2013, opening on Friday 6th. An accompanying programme of talks and other activities will be hosted by DCAC and Roanoke Island Festival Park also in downtown Manteo. Given the important historical relationship and connections between Bideford and Manteo, an exhibit of this nature will fit well with the Island Festival Park’s focus on the replica Elizabethan ‘Elizabeth 11’ ship and the early settlements and their accompanying interpretation and education programmes.

Bideford Bay Creatives would also like to be able to show much of the work in Bideford during June and July for Culture Show 2013.

Sales and Commission:

Dare County Arts Council will take 40% commission on all sales, no maximum price.

Selling price for your work must be in US dollars $$

(40% will be deducted from this price if your work is sold).

What it will cost you:

Entry fee is £25. This will pay for the shipping and insurance of your work to and from Manteo, North Carolina. You will also get the opportunity to show this work in Bideford and have it promoted in Culture Show June/July 2013. You will also receive 1 year’s introductory membership of Bideford Bay Creatives with all of the benefits the organisation offers (not applicable to BBC members late in paying their membership subs)

Current BBC members can enjoy a discounted price of £15.

Bideford Bay Artist involvement and visiting Manteo:

Prior to the exhibition opening and during the exhibition dates a small group of Bideford bay artists will go to Manteo to act as cultural ambassadors for Bideford. BBC are trying to secure funding, but this may need to be paid for by individuals. They will offer a programme of related activity and events:

  • give talks in the local community – schools, college, community venues and spaces
  • run workshops – across different art forms and all ages
  • give presentations about their work and arts practice
  • give presentations about Bideford as a place – now and its history and heritage
  • undertake a short artist residency, developing their artwork and arts practice to bring back new work to be exhibited in Bideford in the future

Accommodation on Roanoke Island will need to be arranged. The Island Festival Park owns property which is dormitory/residential style with shared communal kitchen and sitting areas. This can be booked at a reasonable rate. Email if you would like to be part of this and can travel to Manteo in September.

Financing the exhibition and visit:

Grants have been awarded from the Bideford Bridge Trust and Bideford Town Council for 2013, for BBC members to run workshops with young people in creating new artworks. These artworks will be exhibited in Bideford, prior to shipping to North Carolina, in June/July of 2013. BBC are still in the process of trying to secure further funding for other aspects.

Please download ‘A Portrait of Bideford’ Entry Form here: as a Word doc as an Adobe PDF

Contact details:

Sadie Green, Chair of Bideford Bay Creatives –

Bideford Bay Creatives website

We are also on Facebook –

Bideford/Manteo Inspirations:


  • In early May 1587 England’s 1st American colony set sail, under the command of Sir Richard Grenville, Bideford’s Lord of the Manor.
  • On 16th July 1587 they landed at Ocracoke Island, part of what is now the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
  • The colony settled on Roanoke Island, between the Outer Banks and mainland America, the site of Manteo in North Carolina today.
  • John White, an Artist, was Governor of the colony.
  • White’s daughter Eleanor gave birth to Virginia Dare in August 1587, the first English child to be born in America.
  • On 25th August 1587 John White set sail to return to England for supplies.
  • In 1588 the ships fitted out to sail back to Roanoke Island were commandeered by Queen Elizabeth to fight the Spanish Armada; being the third largest fleet in the country.
  • For Bideford’s support in the fight against the Spanish, Queen Elizabeth granted a Charter for trade with Virginia and Carolina resulting in the town having a larger share of business with North America than any other port in England except London and Topsham.
  • John White returned to Roanoke Island in 1590 to find that the colony had disappeared. This is still one of America’s biggest unsolved mysteries.

Present Day

  • On 11th April 2010, after more than 30 years of a formal friendship, Bideford and Manteo became officially twins.
  • Friday 6th May 2011, Mayor of Manteo Sir Richard Grenville, Bideford’s Lord of the Manor officially open Bideford First Fridays via Skype.
  • Friday 3rd June 2011, Artists Postcard Exchange from Bideford and Manteo artists, opened simultaneously at the Burton Art Gallery and at Dare County Arts Gallery.
  • June 2012, Sir Richard Grenville’s birthplace confirmed as 1-3 Bridge St, Bideford, the ancestral home of the Grenville family (formally the Tavern in the Port). Also Rawley, brought to Bideford by Grenville in 1587; the first Native American, baptized and buried in England, was remembered when a memorial plaque was placed at St. Mary’s Church in Bideford.


A photographic artist who has built up a unique vision of the world through his digitally constructed images. None of his photographs are simply photographs; most of them are made from up to 100 separate images layered, like strata, on top of each other to build up an impression of what it is like to be in a place, giving the viewer far more than a visual experience.

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