Art in the Park 2014
The 45th annual 'Art in the Park' in Cheltenham started on Saturday 21st June 2014 and runs for 4 weeks, until Sunday 20th July, with different artists exhibiting their work each week. The format of the event allows the art on offer to be highly affordable.
The event is organised and run by the artists themselves, and admission to the public is free. We are open from 10am to 7.45pm daily (we have adjusted our opening times from those previously published due to parking restrictions recently imposed in the evening along the Promenade. See the following article in the Gloucestershire Echo:http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Artists-left-fuming-getting-slapped-parking/story-21338868-detail/story.html
A new seating area is now open in front of the open air bar - run by the Town Hall - allowing visitors to relax and enjoy a peaceful drink whilst at the exhibition. There will be four separate one week exhibitions to run consecutively:
WEEK 1 Saturday 21st June to Sat 28th June inclusive (8 days)
WEEK 2 Sunday 29th June to Saturday 5th July inclusive (7 days)
WEEK 3 Sunday 6th July to Saturday 12th July inclusive (7 days)
WEEK 4 Sunday 13th July to Sunday 20th July inclusive (8 days)
This year, we were pleased to welcome the Mayor of Cheltenham, Simon Wheeler and his wife Sandra to the Imperial Gardens to open 'Art in the Park'. Beautiful weather accompanied our well-attended opening ceremony, and the Echo sent out a photographer to cover the event. Various committee members can be seen in the photo accompanying the Mayor and his wife; Christine Smith, Frances Browne, Jane Ware, Andy Lloyd and Frances Arrow. Our thanks to artist Caroline Mann for providing Cheltenham Art with these photographs.
Image courtesy of Jane Ware.
Let us welcome you to Art in the Park! It's smiles all round as committee members Debby Hooper, Christine Smith, Sue Birtwistle, Frances Arrow, Martyn Dymott and Jo Hurlston celebrate the opening of the 2014 exhibition.
Our thanks go to our sponsors, Midwinters Solicitors, for their continuing support last year. Thanks also to Radio Gloucestershire and The Gloucestershire Echo for mentioning us on air and on-line. Here's a selection of the many local media web-pages where we're listed, with many thanks to all concerned:
About the Exhibition
The Cotswolds town of Cheltenham Spa is well known for its annual Festival, which incorporates Literature, Music and the Arts, as well as an acclaimed Science Festival. The Open Air Art Exhibition is an additional attraction in the town during the festival and has been running each year since 1969. It showcases the art of over 100 locals painters over a 4 week period, and is organised by an Exhibition Committee of eleven artists. The Committee is voluntary and exists only to organise the Cheltenham Open Air Art Exhibition.
The Exhibition is open to all local artists and is not based upon the individual merit of the artwork: Application forms are sent out in mid-March to artists who have exhibited recently or who expressed an interest in participating. The available screens are then allocated to applicants on a first come, first served basis. The work exhibited covers a spectrum of talent, incorporating professional artists and relative beginners alike. This format is very popular with the artists themselves, and the event is always over-subscribed.
The event is also very popular with the people of Cheltenham. It provides a colourful annual pageant of original artwork, and offers the potential for real bargains: the commission charged by the event is small compared with that charged by Galleries (who have far higher overheads), and this is reflected in the prices of the artwork on offer.
Typically you can expect to pay half the price you would be charged in a gallery!
Saying that, staging this event is becoming an increasingly expensive activity. The cost of the mandatory public liability insurance has followed the general trend in insurance premiums over the last few years; rapid escalation. The scaffolding is also expensive. The event is funded by fees paid by the artists themselves, and the levies taken from the sale of their paintings, which are currently 10%.
In effect, the Exhibition is reliant upon the commercial success of its exhibiting artists to maintain itself each year.
The economics of the event is thus market-led and driven by the art-lovers of Cheltenham and its environs. We owe them a debt of thanks for their support down the years, and hope to continue to offer them excellent quality and value for years to come.