THE artist behind a unique exhibition that showcases some of Cumbria's best homegrown talent says she is delighted with public response and support.

Emma Hunt is overseeing a summer-long event that will see a changing of the guard every fortnight as new work is introduced.

The free exhibition is being held in The Courtyard at The Rum Story in Whitehaven, and was launched as members of the public were welcomed through the doors of the tourist attraction for the first time in 16 months last week.

Egremont-based Emma, said: "I'm so happy with the initial response. There has been a steady stream of people coming to spend time viewing the pieces of work on display and many have said they will be back when the artists are rotated.

"The Courtyard at The Rum Story is a fantastic venue. It is bathed in natural daylight, is spacious, airy, and the perfect venue for the exhibition, which showcases the work of so many talented local people.

“Too often, this work is overlooked, but the exhibition is the perfect opportunity for emerging and established artists to get their work on display and seen by the public.

The Rum Story’s Courtyard is the gateway to the popular attraction, which recounts the story of how the Jefferson family brought exotic products such as rum and sugar to the British Isles from the Caribbean in the 1700s.

Since it reopened, the team say a pleasing flow of people - both local and tourists - have visited.

Louise McKenna, the new General Manager at The Rum Story, said:  “It has been so nice to welcome visitors back into The Rum Story to learn about the varied and very interesting history of Whitehaven and its rum trade.

“We have found people to be very engaged with the exhibition and we have had so many complimentary comments about their experiences.

 I’m so happy we are open. The Rum Story without visitors simply does not feel right.“

A huge added bonus has been the art exhibition which is a fantastic way of celebrating the undoubted talent that we have right here in West Cumbria and I have personally enjoyed the pieces on display.

“The message is that we are very much open and look forward to welcoming visitors from near and afar to our very unique attraction.”

The art exhibition will run from June 24 to September 12 between 10am - 4pm, and admission. is free

The Rum Story is open Thursday-Sunday 10am-4pm.