Coventry and Warwickshire Society of Artists Celebrate Centenary Year

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This year, Coventry and WarwickshireSociety of Artists (CWSA) will be celebrating the organisations one-hundredth anniversary. 

Founded in February 1912, by the Mayor of Coventry, Colonel William Wyley, CWSA’s history has been studded with many successes, as well as many frustrating trials and tribulations. Disheartened by the fact that so little was being done for the visual arts in Coventry and the surrounding area, Wyley proposed to expose the wealth of talent in the region by founding a society and an art gallery and museum for Coventry and North Warwickshire.

 

The beginning of this initiative was marked by CWSA’s debut exhibition at the Corn Exchange (no longer in existence), where a good 354 works were displayed.  The then President Solomon J. Solomon RA, sent a large painting entitled ‘Eve’ which had to be delivered by carriage as he was unable to attend.

 

The society worked hard to secure an art gallery in Coventry and was eventually rewarded when Sir Alfred Herbert, a philanthropist and local manufacturer, offered to fund the project.  However, despite enormous efforts, together with the advent of World War II, this dream was not fulfilled until 1960, sadly after the death of Sir Herbert. But, this fortune was to be relatively short lived, and, despite a lengthy campaign to save their hard-earned exhibition space, the society were forced to seek alternative exhibition spaces.

Today, the Herbert Art Gallery’s permanent collection still contains a significant number of works donated by members, patrons and other people who were involved with the CWSA, and the actual existence of the gallery is certainly thanks to the early endeavours of the society’s members.

 A number of highly distinguished artists have supported CWSA over the years, including the first woman President Dame Laura Knight, David Shepherd, Sir William Orpen, William Roseblade, and the watercolourist Herbert Edward Cox, whose paintings of old Coventry (1930s) can be seen in the Herbert Art Gallery.

 In more recent times, a number of CWSA members have received awards, including Sheila Fitzgerald who received The Chancellors Medal for her outstanding service to Warwick University and Vivienne Robinson, who won the Warwick Business School Logo Competition in 2011.

 Initially, CWSA was an extremely selective organisation, open only to artists, but over the years the organisation has adapted to the ever-changing times, collaborating with a variety of arts organisations, museums and galleries on a national and European scale, opening its doors to artists and art lovers alike. Today, the original spirit and objectives of the organisation continue to live on, and, to mark their centenary, CWSA will be holding a variety of exhibitions and events in the local area.

 The celebrations will commence this summer, when the society will be exhibiting in the MOSAIC Art Trail, in May,  Art on the Edge2 in June, and “The Tiltyard” in August, under the umbrella of BRINK, where the society will be presenting a special anniversary showcase. But, the most exciting event will occur in October, when the CWSA will hold their centenary exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery.

  “This is a very important and exceptional year for us. We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to hold our Centenary Exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery in October and it will be an incredible opportunity to showcase the wealth of local talent that exists in Coventry and Warwickshire today. To date the CWSA has 93 members, many of whom will be exhibiting at the Herbert in October.  The artists and our committee are working very hard in preparation for this event, which will be feature painting and sculpture by both past and current members” states CWSA President Jane Powell.

You can find out more about the events that will be happening this year at www.covwarsocart.co.uk

By Musing On Spines

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Information On Images –

1 – Consortium Exhibition: The Tower, hand-built in ‘Freckled Stoneware’ clay by Sheila Karran is frost proof, so ideal for the garden.  It is constructed in four parts, fitting together rather like Lego with embossed and engraved embellishments.  In one window sits a small bird gazing out on the world around.
2 – CWSA’s Christmas Exhibition at the Library in Kenilworth 2010. 
3 – This was CWSA’s Annual Exhibition 2011 and shows the Mayor of Solihull and his wife flanking Exhibitions Secretary Jacqui Smithson who was awarded the Ralph Brassett trophy for her quirky ‘Pots and Grasses’Acrylic on paper and Cynthia Chandler who was presented with The Silver Salver for her superb oil painting ‘Amboseli Reserve’.
4 – CWSA’s Christmas Exhibition at the Library in Kenilworth 2010.  Wendy Cook is shown talking with Rik Middleton.  This was opened by renowned playwright Andrew Davies and his special award went to Susan Moore for her painting of Humph.

Area – West Midlands

Celebrate Medway’s Creativity On 23rd June 2012

Medway is the centre of a flourishing creative community and on June 23rd the Nucleus arts centre in Chatham welcomes everyone to join them in the celebration of their 10th anniversary. The day of celebrations will run from 11am to 11pm throughout the town centre and will include a mixture of exhibitions, open artist studios, street performers and live music.

The Nucleus arts centre in Chatham, which resides next to the Trafalgar centre on the high street, opened its doors to a variety of artists in June 2002. Since then over 400 creatives have used the valuable work space to produce their work as well as exhibit to the local community.

10 years ago local sculptor Hilary Halpern found there was a limited amount of creative working space available in the Medway area. After speaking to local artists it was established that there was a great demand for such a place and this evidence was taken to Medway council and the arts council. These authorities gave the go ahead and Hilary found 272a/b in Chatham High Street which was the perfect building for the concept. Previously used for a number of businesses including a health food restaurant, bakery and even a builders yard, Hilary and his daughter developed the building into artist studios and exhibition space. A month after opening the Nucleus cafe was opened at the same site which added a social and community dimension to the studios.

Since then Nucleus has extended its studios in Chatham and also runs a shop in Rochester and Maidstone. In the future Nucleus want to hold more workshops and educational projects which can support more people within the community. They are also planning to involve themselves more in media such as You Tube and hope to soon have an online store for their artists.

See you on the 23rd of June for the anniversary celebrations!

About The Day

On the stage at the art centre there will be local bands playing for you for free until 8pm. They have a fantastic Stones tribute band, a Jazz band, Acoustic and Folk bands and alternative rock to keep you entertained throughout the day. They also have comedian Nigel Adams and book readings from Wolf Howard and Jim Hill at the Centre. There will be arts and craft stalls along their driveway and portraiture/cartoon drawings as well as face painting and Henna/glitter tattoos for the children.

The Rochester Coffee Company will have food and drink to keep you refreshed including an outside bar and a scrumptious BBQ!! 😎

Along the High Street at various times there will be performances by Circus Street Performers Jugglez and Street Theatre too.

In the Central Theatre between 1pm-4pm they will have the Kent County Choirs and Musicians, Walk Tall Theatre Group, Force 10 and dance groups Dance Alley and Medina Belly Dancers. All of these acts will be performing for you and the whole of this event is FREE.

Finally, upstairs in the Pentagon there will be theatre and dance acts from the Central Theatre performing for you between 1.30-4.30pm.

Here is a slideshow of how the Nucleus art centre has developed over the last 10years.

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Area – South East