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Village Art & Literature

Barnt Green Art Club: A Historical Note

Posted on January 22 2012 at 9:25:22 0 comments

Barnt Green Art Club committee

Patricia White, former Honorary Secretary, and Professor Richard White, former Honorary Treasurer, tell the Club’s story so far…

Reading Paula Hamilton’s complimentary review of the Barnt Green Art Club’s last exhibition (Village, December 2011/January 2012), we were prompted to write a few notes about the Club’s origins more than ten years ago, and its subsequent development. 

The inspiration for this venture sprang from Patricia, who had attended art classes for several years and perceived the need for similar facilities in the village. She secured suitable accommodation for rent at the Friends’ Meeting House, and persuaded Angela Holt, a talented Midlands professional artist who had already taught us the basics, to become the tutor.

The Club was constituted in April 2001 as a non-profit-making members’ club, with a brief to encourage creative art as an amateur leisure pursuit.  It began with just ten members.  However, the first exhibition, on December 14, 2001, led to a surge of interest and the membership increased progressively to its current maximum of 40 by January 2006.

With four weekly classes, each of only ten members, there was ample scope for individual tuition. Students were encouraged to develop their own personal styles, with guidance by Angela who also gave regular demonstrations of technique. Watercolour remains the most popular medium, but acrylics and acrylic inks, gouache, watercolour pencils, graphite, pastels and pencil drawing are also employed.

From the beginning the Club has held an annual exhibition at the Friends’ Meeting House, usually at the end of November.  It has also mounted occasional exhibitions, by invitation, as a feature of the village’s annual festival in June. 

The purpose of the exhibitions has always been to demonstrate the members’ creativity and talent – of which there is plenty – and any sales achieved were regarded as a bonus. Each member may enter two to four framed paintings for hanging, in addition to mounted but unframed paintings, prints and greetings cards.

Many also give up their time to run the exhibitions and provide light refreshments. We were privileged to have visits from Ms Julie Kirkbride, who as MP graciously opened the 2006 exhibition.

From its foundation the club agreed that receipts from the sale of refreshments at its exhibitions should be donated to charity. In this way we supported a variety of mainly local charities including, amongst others, the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust, the Worcester County Air Ambulance and the Macular Disease Society, often raising more than £100. 

In an exceptional fund-raising event on November 22, 2008, our chosen charity was the Kidney Kids appeal for improved Renal Unit accommodation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The exhibition was kindly opened by Dr Mark Taylor, the senior Consultant Nephrologist, and the sum of £505 was raised, from public donations and the sale of refreshments, as well as paintings gifted by club members.

At its foundation, with just ten members, the only officers required were the Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer.  In view of its expansion, however, the club is now managed by a small committee consisting of the two officers, an elected representative from each of the four classes, and the tutor ex officio.

Towards the end of 2008, after almost eight years at the helm, we felt it was time to hand over to energetic younger members, and Jo Lloyd succeeded as Hon Secretary, with Jane Wilkes as Hon Treasurer. The club is quite evidently flourishing, and has a promising future based on a solid foundation.

Pictured above: Patricia White, Dr Mark Taylor, Jo Lloyd, Angela Holt and Richard White at the opening of the exhibition on November 22, 2008.

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