Summer exhibition for Chichester Art Society

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Chichester Art Society embarks on its summer exhibition – as part of the Festival of Chichester – with numbers high.

They offer just the one show a year, and this year the dates are June 11-23 (Tues- Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun noon-4pm) at their usual venue, Chichester’s Oxmarket Contemporary.

Chairman Chris Shaw said: “It is the real major event of the year which we do which is outward facing. A lot of what we do is for our members to help them develop and improve and to grow. We are a thriving organisation of about 150 members which is really good. It was founded in 1939 by a group of Chichester artists and there have only been two times when activities have been curtailed. The first was during World War Two and the second was during Covid for a shorter period, thank goodness, but each time we have come back and we have gone from strength to strength. The philosophy remains the same which is to encourage the arts and the production of art.”

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Coming back from the pandemic Chris says he had an unofficial membership target of 150 last year: “We had gone down a bit during Covid and the thing is that when you do Zoom and things like that then it kind of breaks the habit so we put some real efforts into rebuilding and stimulating membership. I wanted to reach 150 last year which was a number that was one of the high points before Covid, and we managed to achieve that in December. Now I am wanting to go beyond.”

Chris Shaw (contributed pic)Chris Shaw (contributed pic)
Chris Shaw (contributed pic)

The importance of the exhibition as that it gives a chance for members to show their work in a professional gallery: “And they put a lot of work into it as we get closer. We've got about 60 artists that are showing their work this year and the work will be for sale at reasonable prices. It's all work done within the last couple of years and it really does give a focus for people to have something to work towards, something that is a stimulus but also the second thing is that it gives us a chance to get our society out there to the general public and to let people know that we are here and to suggest that people might like to join us.”

It's a great deal of work to organise: “We have got an overall coordinator and we have got three team leaders but it's lovely to be at the Oxmarket. We have partnered with the Oxmarket for a good number of years and I'm pleased to say that we have an excellent relationship with the management there.

“The work on show will be a whole variety including traditional landscapes and portraiture and also contemporary work and mixed media. We will be using the whole gallery. We've got the John Rank Gallery and also the Wilson Gallery. The Wilson Gallery is for the smaller pieces with the larger pieces in the main gallery. We have got acrylic and oil and mixed media and drawing and charcoal and certainly pastel and this year we have broadened it out to include five or six 3D artists with ceramics or sculpture or glass or jewellery.”

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Having come to Chichester in recent years, Chris says he’s really impressed by the huge opportunities and the abundance of art in the area: “I couldn't believe all the opportunities to look and listen and learn with so many other people who have the same interests.”

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