Walsall artists’ 66th display is ‘best show ever’

They have been displaying their work for 66 years – but a dedicated group of artists say their latest exhibition is their best yet.

Walsall artists’ 66th display is ‘best show ever’

Artist Patrick Butler views his 327.5 degrees celsius work

The Walsall Society of Artists, a group of keen amateur and professionals, are currently holding their 66th annual exhibition at Walsall’s New Art Gallery.

Colour and imagination is at the fore at the venue with more than 150 pieces of artwork from the group’s dedicated 140 members currently on display.

The five-week exhibition brings together a range of creations including paintings in oils, acrylic and watercolour and sculptures. Every weekend during the exhibition members will demonstrate their skills at the gallery.

The group currently consists of members who mostly are from the Walsall area and who love spending their free time doing drawings and paintings. Traditionally, most of the group’s recent creations are put up each year at the art gallery. This year’s exhibition runs until September 13.

And this year the society are hoping their 66th annual exhibition will go down as the best yet after opting to hold it during the summer rather than in mid-winter.

The society’s chairman Patrick Butler, who has been painting in watercolours as a hobby for more than 20 years, said 2015 could be a year to remember for its talented members.

“We are hoping this year will be our best one yet,” he said.

“We usually hold our annual exhibition just before Christmas each year but for the first time we are holding it in the summer. This is because we want the public to buy the items ready for Christmas. 

“In the past they have not been able to because the pieces have had to stay at the gallery until the exhibition closed.” Walsall Society of Artists was founded in 1949 by Alderman Riley who gathered together a number of residents who were interested in art.

Several years later Ethel Mary Flint became President of Walsall Society of Artists and stated at a society committee meeting that she would seek election to Walsall Town Council solely to fight for a Walsall Art Gallery which she, and others, felt was needed as a cultural asset for the town.

She was later successful in becoming town mayor and realised her ambition with the official opening of the EM Flint Art Gallery which was inside the premises of the town’s museum. 

This ground work then led to the building of the New Art Gallery which opened its doors in 1999. 

The group now meet every second Thursday of every month at St Martin’s Church Hall where they hold demonstrations and classes. One of its many proud members is Cheslyn Hay resident David McGuire, 68, who joined the group five years ago to expand on his skills as an amateur photographer.

Now the secretary of the society, Mr McGuire said the relationship between the art gallery and the society is fantastic for the community.

“The annual exhibition is the main event for the society every year and it’s great to be doing it again,” he said.

“We are fortunate to be able to exhibit at the New Art Gallery, it’s a superb venue and I think it is a much prized asset for Walsall. 

“The staff there have worked extremely hard for us this year to get this right. They do every year but we have seemed to gel really well this year.”

For more information about the exhibition or the society call 01922 654400, or visit www.walsallsocietyofartists.co.uk

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