The Art Circle has enjoyed another successful year and I am pleased to say that all the practical activities: the Portrait Group, the Life Drawing Group and the Saturday Workshops have continued to grow in popularity. The new Summer Workshop with Francis Bowyer was also fully subscribed.
I am sure all the members who take part in these painting/drawing groups would like to thank: Lesley Fisher and Chris Head, who run the Life Group; Muriel Lacey and Pam Hemming who organise the Saturday Workshops; and David Weight who did so much work to make sure the Summer Workshop at The Southwold Sailing Club ran smoothly.
The attendance at some of the Friday afternoon talks has occasionally been disappointing. This is a pity. Those who have turned out on what I must confess have been some very cold days, have been well rewarded. Jack has worked hard to persuade a wide variety of speakers to visit us and members who have taken a risk, so to speak, and made the effort to come to a talk which they weren’t sure about have usually been pleasantly surprised. It is important not to underestimate what we, as practising painters, can learn from painters whose approach, subject matter and style maybe very different from our own.
The total sales last summer were £5,315 (compared with £4,040 in 2016). 40 paintings were sold (44 in 2016). Card sales were up from £152 in 2016 to £265 despite the drop in visitor numbers, down to 769 from 959 in 2016.
So well done everyone for putting on another successful show; I have heard that many art clubs are struggling to maintain sales in these strange and uncertain times
The variety of subject matter and individual painting styles continues to amaze visitors and the feedback in the Visitors Book is always both positive and encouraging.
I am very pleased to report that Laina West has agreed to become the Exhibitions Officer and is recruiting a team of helpers to organise and run the summer exhibition. Laina is already planning a long overdue review of the exhibition and has come up with some exciting ideas. This year the screens will be refurbished and arranged in a more open layout. It seems appropriate to invest profits made from previous exhibitions into future exhibitions and use the money to enhance the presentation of member’s work in line with rising standards. New lighting has been purchased and the advertising banner and hand-made boards will be replaced by professionally made promotion notices.
This year marks the end of an era. After many years of dedicated service David Weight and Jane Pollock have decided to give up their posts on the committee, although both have kindly agreed to help out when necessary. It is impossible to measure the immense contribution David and Jane have made to the Art Circle in the past, particularly as most of their work has been carried out, without complaint, behind the scenes.
We have had to replace David with a team of members (and a paid professional to prepare the accounts) as the number of jobs David has been carrying out on our behalf is only now becoming apparent. The question, “What will we do without him?” has never been more appropriate.
And I must acknowledge the often thankless work Jane has faithfully carried out, such as keeping the minutes of the committee meetings and thoroughly checking the paper work on Exhibition Handing-in Day. We are looking at ways of marking their contributions to the Art Circle.
Finally, I have to say, we are about to find out something I have long dreaded, which is how I will manage without their support.
There are many other members who work in the background, whose work we all take for granted, for example: Barry Tolfree produces all the posters, Alan Wiltshire can always be relied on if there is the opportunity to do any heavy lifting and Lenny Townsend is our go to handyman.
Finally, I would like to thank our President, Jack Stephenson, for his support, encouragement and friendship and all the members who have generously entrusted the Chairmanship of the Southwold Art Circle to me.