Circus-themed paintings in Culworth, vintage wedding couture in Cropredy, conceptual sculptures in a 200yr old boatyard, and ‘Work in progress’ by students at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, are just some of the things you’ll be able to see in and around Banbury during Oxfordshire Artweeks in early May.
Around 1000 artists, including 180 new for 2012, are preparing to open almost 500 venues across the county this spring as Artweeks celebrates its 30th anniversary, making it the longest-running and biggest open studios in the UK. With forty venues in Banbury and the surrounding villages inviting you in; a wide variety of work on show, from ceramics and jewellery to furniture and digital media, prints, cards and pots; and a dozen new Banbury artists and makers joining in for the first time this year, there’ll be something to capture everyone’s interest, whether art aficionados and everyday enthusiasts, and all for free.
To mark this birthday year, a celebratory exhibition by photographer Simon Murison-Bowie will come to The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury (1st May-2nd June) direct from Modern Art Oxford, capturing, in black and white, thirty Oxfordshire artists at work in their private studios.
In addition, a teenager commended by the ‘Wildlife photographer of the year’ competition; an award-winning ceramicist who wears goggles and gauntlets to brave the flames in which she fires her pots; life-size sculptures celebrating Olympic values standing tall in The Ashmolean; and a celebration of arts & crafts by older people using the Banbury Health and Wellbeing Centre are all in the planning.
With new local area trails, as well as the definitive festival guide and website, visitors will have the chance to see the art produced in their own communities, to ask local artists about their inspirations, techniques and materials, and even have a go themselves.
Artweeks is celebrated across Oxfordshire in partnership with local arts centres, museums, and other Oxfordshire organisations, with support from Hamptons International whose Banbury & Deddington offices will house taster art throughout May.
You can pick up an Artweeks guide from libraries, Hamptons branches and local information points from April or visit www.artweeks.org.