THE Edwardian home of a Wirral woman is to become a mecca for art lovers across the region.
Fran Walden Jones, a drama tutor, is opening the doors to her Devonshire Park home, The Belmont, in Birkenhead, to unknown artists struggling to make a name for themselves.
From September an exhibition of work by LIPA students and Mersey-side artists will fill three rooms of the two-storey house as well as spilling over into the garden and outside walls of the building. Ms Walden Jones said: "It's a dream I have had for many years and now I have had the opportunity to turn it into a reality.
"I wanted to create a forum for unknown artists to show their work. There are some incredibly talented people out their that don't have many opportunities to show their art.
"I hope by doing this many up-and-coming artists in Merseyside will benefit from the exposure. "I've got the house and they've got the work so it makes sense. And what a wonderful way it is to make the most of this spacious old house."
Ms Walden Jones, 56, graduated earlier this month from LIPA after taking the Leading the Way course. It qualifies her to run workshops for disabled and able-bodied drama students.
While studying, she mixed with students of all disciplines and met many artists desperate to forge their way into the art world, which spurred her on to pursue her gallery dream.
She has submitted a bid for funding to the Arts Council and is now busy preparing her traditional home to be opened up to the public.
And it's not just a matter of hanging a few pictures.
"The artists have free run of the ground floor of my home and can white wash the walls if they need to," she said.
"I'm sorting out security and I'm bringing in a lighting firm to make sure all the work is shown at its best.
"Trees need to be cut back in the garden to allow sculptures and installations to be exhibited and I'm hiring ramps for disabled access.
"The art on display will cover all genres from oil paintings to water colours, modern art and sculpture. The house is merely a shell to show up and coming artists."
Experts at the Williamson Art Gallery have backed the exhibition and given a few tips to ensure all runs smoothly.
Pat Rowlands, from the gallery, said: "Ms Walden Jones approached us for some advice about hanging paintings and lighting.
"Some of the people here have decades of experience so they were only too pleased to point out some of the pitfalls and explain how we organise things.
"It's a great idea and we will certainly be popping down to have a look when it opens."