Art Groups - News & Meetings

June Faulkner reports on the Textile Group's visit to the recent Zandra Rhodes exhibition, and Hillary Taylor reports on the activities of the Harpenden Group and the range of subject matters that have been discussed this year over their 3rd Wednesday of the month coffee meetings ...


Members of the textile group went to the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street to see the colourful exhibition Zandra Rhodes: Unseen, followed by a visit to the Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery, which is now housed in spacious premises in Southwark Street.    We will remember that Zandra Rhodes insists that you should draw something every day, as she does – in her opinion when you take pictures with your camera you don’t spend enough time thinking about what you are looking at!   We finished a very enjoyable outing with a tasty lunch in a riverside pub, discussing the day, watching the passing boats on the Thames, and then travelled home enthused by all we had seen.



Harpenden and District Open Studios participants have historically got together to plan local OS events in the run up to September.  Last year I suggested we also meet after OS to share experiences, and the rest, as they say, is history. We now have a regular ‘third Wednesday’ coffee for anyone who’s free to turn up on the day. Our meetings have gone from strength to strength with comments such as ‘invaluable’, ‘now I feel part of the local community’, ‘such a useful conversation’ overheard during and after meetings.   
There’s no agenda (except leading up to OS), no real plan, but sometimes conversations carry on where they left off, or someone suggests a topic for next time.  We’ve talked printers, printing, cards, art styles, marketing, tech stuff, personal successes and experience, shared planning for events, all sorts relevant to our art world.  People new to OS have an experienced team to work with, and even ‘old hands’ benefit from the time together. This year it’s also been a springboard for our 2013 Open Studios Harpenden and District Art Trail, a collaboration with some co-ordinated opening hours/days and both an adult and children’s trail with incentives for completion.  (It’s too early to see whether this brings additional business in, but it’s a great marketing tool on top of our existing local events).  
So what happens? (I hear you ask). We have a closed group on LinkedIn where people can talk about relevant arty things ‘in private’.  Meeting reminders, follow-up or discussions can be also be posted (there’s email back-up for those not on LinkedIn and phone back-up for one or 2).  We meet at a central hotel for free/easy parking and a large flexible seating area that can hold 3-15 or more. We each buy our own drinks and there’s a real sense of local community, that we are working together.  
If you live in Harpenden and District, why not join the Harpenden and District Artists LinkedIn group and come along after Open Studios, provisionally October 16th 2pm at the Harpenden House Hotel.  Similarly, if you’d like to start this up elsewhere, you’d be welcome to come to one of our meetings to see what happens – email me so we can confirm a meeting date and place.  



A quiet month for meetings as Herts Open Studios is underway in September.  If you would like to get involved in the Autumn/Winter programme with any of the groups please feel free to email the group leaders.  New Members are always welcome. (painters north) (painters south)