'Art in the Park' celebrates 50th birthday
By David Wood
Where: Imperial Gardens, Cheltenham
When: Saturday, June 22, to Sunday, July 21, 10am to 7.30pm daily
The 50th annual 'Art in the Park' kicks off in Cheltenham this coming weekend and will run for four consecutive weeks in Imperial Gardens.
The Art in the Park exhibition has been running each year since 1969 and showcases the art of over 100 locals painters, and is organised by an exhibition committee of 11 artists.
There will be a celebratory opening ceremony on Saturday (June 22) at 10am with renowned artist Dr P.J. Crook giving the keynote address. There will also be a reception for honoured guests, who are expected to include Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk, the town's former MP and now MEP Martin Horwood, the Mayor and town crier, along with exhibiting artists.
Art in the Park is organised and run by the artists themselves, and admission to the public is free. It is open from 10am to 7.30pm daily. There will be four separate one-week exhibitions to run consecutively:
A seating area is now open in front of the open air bar - run by the Town Hall - allowing visitors to relax and enjoy a peaceful drink whilst at the exhibition.
This year's event will also run alongside a Music Festival event scheduled for the weekend of 6-7 July in Imperial Gardens.
The exhibition is open to all local artists and is not based upon the individual merit of the artwork.
The event is also very popular with the people of Cheltenham. It provides a colourful annual pageant of original artwork, and offers the potential for real bargains: the commission charged by the event is small compared with that charged by galleries (who have far higher overheads), and this is reflected in the prices of the artwork on offer.
Andy Lloyd, chairperson of Art in the Park, said: "We are adding a little bit of spice to celebrate this year. We are putting together a little bit about the history of the exhibitiion with displays and images from previous exhibitions giving people a flavour of previous years."
Andy said it was a laid back atmophere with no pressure from the exhibitiiors. He said the number of people viewing the exhibition was often dependent on the weather but there could be hundreds of visitors on a nice day.
"Certainly over the four weeks we would get literally thousands of people come to see us," he added.
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