Highcliffe Art Fellowship was first formed in 1962 and is now in its 59th year, with a membership of over 120 members. Under normal circumstances the Fellowship would hold a live demonstration monthly and a 3 week Exhibition in August. Both the monthly meetings and the Exhibition are held in the Methodist Church Hall in Highcliffe. A radio microphone is used at meetings to ensure that everyone can hear and the hall has a loop system fitted to assist those with hearing aids. There is also a large-screen TV coupled to a video camera so that presentations can be enhanced with close-ups and zoom-ins, as appropriate.
With the impact of Covid 19 the situation has obviously changed.
The committee for the Fellowship viewed the current situation as a challenge. As a result, even during the pandemic the Fellowship is holding for its members live demonstrations with professional artists via Zoom, as well as commissioning bespoke video demonstrations.
Members have also been invited to submit photographs of their art created during lockdown. These were used to create a ‘Lockdown Gallery’ on our web site so members could share the work they were doing.
While the likelihood of the normal three week exhibition is not currently very high the ‘Exhibition Sub Committee ‘ are looking at whether a simplified exhibition can be planned for August 2021. This exhibition would have to comply with Government Regulations to ensure the safety of both our members and any members of the public that may visit the exhibition.
New members are always welcome. Even though we are not able to provide a normal programme there is still plenty of opportunity to join our live zoom presentations, receive videos and submit your art to be on display on our web site. You can view our web site on https://highcliffe-art.info/ There you will find further information including an application form to join.
Action and Motivation Continue at Highcliffe Art Fellowship
Highcliffe Art Fellowship is now in its 59th year and has over 120 members. In normal times we would have a monthly demonstration given by a professional artist on the first Wednesday of each month and a 3-week exhibition in August. Our meetings and the annual exhibition are held in the excellent Methodist Church Hall in Highcliffe.
In March 2020 all this changed with the impact of Covid 19. Even during the first lockdown, the committee felt we owed our members some continuity and motivation. We started holding monthly committee meetings on Zoom, it was swiftly agreed to ask members to share new paintings on our website “Lockdown Gallery”.
To replace the regular monthly live demonstrations, we commissioned professional artists to prepare video demonstrations specifically for us to issue to our members. We also arranged for several artists to give live, real time demonstrations on Zoom. Both initiatives have proved very popular with our members. As a result, for 2021 we have cancelled our normal programme of demonstrations and replaced them with a programme of monthly video or live Zoom Demonstrations.
We also started very early on a monthly newsletter, keeping our members informed of what we were doing and promoting these events and other interesting art avenues including TV.
During April we were approached by the Highcliffe Millennium Tapestry Project. They were looking for two specific paintings to complete their history of the Highcliffe Village which is on permanent display at Highcliffe Castle. One was ‘Smugglers in Chewton Bunny’ and the second was ‘The Cat and Fiddle Pub’. Rather than looking for just one or two artists, we set it as a challenge for all our members. The anonymous results were posted to our website and our membership voted for which two pictures should be donated to the Millennium Project team. A handover ceremony will be held at Highcliffe Castle to hand over the paintings when current restrictions allow.
Recognising the impact that lockdown was having on our members, one of our committee members volunteered to take on the temporary role of Welfare Officer. She has been telephoning all of our members just for a chat, to let them know what the Fellowship is doing and asking if they need any help. This is proving to be one of the most important roles at the moment.
The telephone calls quickly identified that several our members were struggling to think what to paint or even be motivated to paint. As a result we have introduced a ‘Topic of the Month’ where we suggest a topic to paint and invite members to submit their paintings for display on our web site.
Dependant on the easing of lockdown, we are very much hoping that we will be able to hold some form of summer exhibition. This will of course have to be a much scaled down version. We feel that it will give our members some additional impetus to carry on painting but will also bring some much-needed activity to our somewhat beleaguered high street.
Our website www.highcliffe-art.info is being updated constantly and we invite everyone to log on and see the latest news and pictures. There is also a membership form and new members are always welcomed. Mike Daniels – Chairman Highcliffe Art Fellowship
Highcliffe Art Fellowship is one of the largest and most successful art clubs in the area is being revitalised.
With an almost entirely new committee, under the leadership of Chairman Mike Daniels the Fellowship is aiming to blend the experience of the last 56 years with new ideas.
The format of monthly demonstrations will continue in the afternoon of the first Wednesday of each month in the excellent hall at the Methodist Church in Lymington Road, Highcliffe between 14.30 and 16.30 hrs. Demonstrators in 2019 include regular artists such as Alan Langford and Lindsey Cole as well as newcomers such as Dee Cowell and Charlie Evans. Dates may be found in the Fellowship advertisement.
The annual exhibition runs for 3 weeks from 31st July to 19th August and is also held in the Methodist Church Hall in Highcliffe. It is for many the highlight of the art year. Fully paid up members can exhibit their work to fellow members and the general public with many people planning their visit to the area to fit with the dates that the exhibition is on. The planning and preparation for the exhibition starts in March and is led by Richard Adams, Exhibition Co-ordinator, who is supported by a substantial team of volunteers.
In order to better meet the needs of members and provide up to date information about the Fellowship the Web site is undergoing a major revamp lead by our newly appointed Web Coordinator Ian Game. The new Web site address is www.Highcliffe-art.info.
To encourage young people to become interested in art the Fellowship also runs an annual competition with a local school to select and recognise a ‘Young Artist of the year’ with the award being presented to the winner at the opening of the annual exhibition.
Historical Background: In the late 1950s the owner of the local Highcliffe art shop was Fred Norbury, an artist and tutor. He realised that many local people were painting and that the pictures brought to him for framing were of a good standard.
With encouragement from Councillor Irene Stevenson, he persuaded the painters to stage an exhibition in what was the sunken rose garden on the nearby cliff tops. This was repeated until the council ploughed up the area.
Other exhibitions followed in various locations and, in 1962, a club was formed. In appreciation of her help, Councillor Irene Stevenson was created president; a position held until her death in 1994.
From these small beginnings, the Fellowship developed and found permanent homes for the monthly meetings in Greystones’ Hall; and for the annual one-week exhibition in the Highcliffe Methodist Hall.
The fellowship flourished to such an extent that it had to be limited to 150 members and there is now usually a waiting list for new members. A book is held by the stewards at the exhibitions for the names and details of people wishing to be added to the membership waiting list.
In 1996, the now regular monthly meetings were also moved to the Methodist Hall. The annual exhibition has now expanded to 3 weeks and, typically, hangs about 250 pictures with a further 100 unframed, together with numerous greetings cards. A policy of free admission to the exhibitions has always been maintained with a souvenir catalogue available for a small fee if required. When visitors are seeking pictures by a particular artist, the stewards have an alphabetical listing in their master catalogue.
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month (except August) from 2.30 – 4.30 pm, when a professional artist demonstrates some topic or techniques to the members or perhaps gives a critique of members’ pictures. A radio microphone is used to ensure that everyone can hear and the hall has a loop system fitted to assist those with hearing aids. There is also a large-screen TV coupled to a video camera so that presentations can be enhanced with close-ups and zoom-ins, as appropriate.
A library comprising about 70 videos and DVDs, together with numerous books, is available for members to borrow.
Outdoor, group painting sessions are arranged locally during the summer months.
Summer Exhibition 2018 – 1st August – 201th August
Open 10 -5 Monday -Saturday
The former Chairman, Dennis Ford, awarded the Young Artist of the Year Award to a student of fine arts at Highcliffe School.
On a recent visit to see her extended family in Cape Town, 15 year old Danielle Esterhuizen filmed from the car the vast extent of the informal settlement of Khayelitsha. This inspired the triptych she presented for her GCSE exam this summer. It presents a great sense of space and beauty albeit with the juxtaposition of the settlement with the city of Cape Town.
The President, Josephine Spencer MBE, also awards a prize each year for a picture which she would like to hang on her wall. This year it was awarded to Ann Bill for her charming watercolour Eggs in a Basket. Ann, who loves painting in watercolours, said that she was surprised, excited and honoured.
The exhibition was opened by Ben Jenkins on behalf of our sponsor Mitchells Estate Agent.
The exhibition of over 250 pictures in a wide variety of styles and media is open at the Methodist Church Hall, Lymington Road, Highcliffe until Monday 20th August, closed Sundays.