To herald the fast approach of the 2019 Trail, we held our Preview Exhibition at the Oxmarket last week. Everyone provided a piece of work for this show; this really helps visitors make a choice about which artists to see, which Venues to visit and to plan their route.
Here we are on hanging day…it was all rather daunting as we waited for works from 160 artists to be delivered! But things did soon start to take shape.
By about 4pm we were more or less there. And, actually, feeling very proud!
Then on Tuesday we opened to the public with many a complimentary comment on the quality and diversity of the art and the curation of the exhibition as a whole.
LAUNCH PARTY FOR ARTISTS on Tuesday April 23rd
With celebratory air, the party was the springboard for the Chichester Open Studios Art Trail 2019! It was an opportunity to experience the heart of the Trail; to meet other participating artists, sample the diversity of work and talent in our area and, we hope, for artists to feel supported in their own Art Trail endeavours.
Everyone seemed to have good time and we again had lots of compliments about the work and the hanging of the exhibition, with the ‘room’ like settings giving a feeling of space, light and coherence.
At 7pm there was a short speech from the Chair:
Hello, I think I have met most artists, but for those who don’t know me, I am Nicola Hancock, Chair of Chichester Art Trail.
I think this exhibition speaks for itself – it is stunning. Thanks to all of you for contributing, and it is testament to our wealth of creativity, and an amazing offering to visitors. Please have a look round and do come back during the week to take everything in and to bring potential Trail visitors. There is a stewards rota on the door if anyone would like to sign up for a slot to come and chat to visitors. I think they really appreciate the welcome and they like the opportunity to talk to Trail artists.
The Art Trail is an entity in itself and I see it as my job to optimise this opportunity for our artists.
To that end we have been creative in sensing ways of keeping it healthy and lively!
Sifting through artists suggestions from last year’s Evaluation Forms, we have some new things this year:
- Volunteer Art Trail buddies are offering a guiding hand to new artists.
- Publicity in each Trail area has been handled by volunteer artists in that area. As they are on their home territory, they know the best outlets for marketing.
- We have pulled in the Eastern boundary, so the Trail is slightly less widespread.
- As you will have seen, there are now City, Downs, Harbour, Peninsula and Regis Trails. This is to address the feeling of ‘overwhelm’ that assails some visitors when there are just so many possible artists to visit. They can now pick off one Trail at a time if they so wish. Or of course they can take in the whole area and choose who they would like to see.
I see the website as our Flagship; it is the year round embodiment of the Trail, so it feels very important to keep nourishing it. If you have a look at it, you will see that it is now exceedingly plump! During this year I have added everything there is to know about the Trail! I hope this ease of access to information will be reassuring and informative to a potential artist, as well as helpful to all current Trail artists.
Alongside this, we have been increasing the resources for artists and visitors. I’m always on the look out for things that might assist an artist in getting their work out into the world and I add it to the Artist Resource section.
Terry, our daughter Ellen, and I, have very much enjoyed doing some Artist Interviews to add to the site. We have experienced just the thing we offer to visitors – that privilege of getting to know the artist a little, through conversation, and the sharing of their work and creativity. Have a look at the Artist Interviews on the site and see for yourself.
We are just about to add three more as Trail blazers for us all!
I will send a Pre-Trail Newsletter with a few more nitty gritty bits and pieces, at the end of the week.
Can I give a mention to the Evaluation Forms; please fill them in and submit the information online after the Trail – it is our fuel for the evolution of Trail and our data to attract the visitors, supporters and artists that keep the Trail alive and thriving. We will send you a fulsome Evaluation report in the summer.
We’ll see you on Sunday, after the exhibition closes, between 4pm and 4.30, to collect any unsold work.
I would like to say a very big thank you to my committee – Terry and Karen, who are a great support and have strengths and skills that I don’t! I would also like to thank Jo Strain, Ann Smith and Thomas who have added delightful and unexpected help this year. A thank you too, to those who have volunteered to do publicity, be Trail buddies and put out road signs.
Anyway, enough! I sometimes feel somewhat like a tree that was planted way back in October…but now is the time to decorate that tree! You are the lights…it is you who make the Trail sparkle and dazzle the visitors! Tonight is the night we turn the lights on! Now it’s over to you…have a great Art Trail 2019.
Onwards to Sunday evening, artists have collected their work and the Oxmarket Preview Exhibition came down this afternoon. We had over 700 visitors and nearly £2000 of sales. Not at all bad!
But most of all the Preview Exhibition has been a showcase for the Trail. Stewards have reported the Trail-going public studying works, Trail Guide and pen in hand, marking the Venues they want to visit over the next 2 weekends…the very reason we give them this all important preview opportunity!
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Open Studios Dates
Chichester Open Studios will be held on 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th and 27th (Bank Holiday Monday) May, 2024.