This year in 2018, my local art group turned 30 years old. Kineton Art Group was set up by a group of ladies who used to meet in each others houses or in the ‘freezing Scout Hut’ for a spot of painting. Kineton Art Group owes much of its thanks to Peggy Shiner and Rosalie Jordan especially, who began and led the group. Together they drove the art group on, instructing the ladies with their painting, and organising the group. It wasn’t long before Peggy decided to have Kineton’s first open art exhibition in the village hall, and invite other artists that she knew to also exhibit their work there. She also asked artist John Lines to be the group’s president, which he still is today! According to Lyn Rayner, our longest standing member, it was quite daunting going from painting together in a little group to exhibiting work alongside professionals.
Peggy’s and Rosalie’s legacy has gone from strength to strength since 1988. We now have 69 members, an afternoon group as well as an evening group who meet in the village hall, two exhibitions a year with outside professional artists too, regular demonstrations and workshops delivered by artists, and incredibly enthusiastic members who go above and beyond to keep Kineton Art Group thriving. The group also have a lot of interest in other art groups, go on separate art courses together, support each other’s individual projects and exhibitions, share expertise, and are just great people to hang out with on a Monday evening over a cup of tea and canvases everywhere. I believe it is because of its members that the group is flourishing and had a successful 30th Anniversary party!
Months of preparation went into the 30th Anniversary party. The committee wanted every member to have the opportunity to get involved, and be part of completing a large art project which we hoped would shout KINETON ART GROUP. It was decided then that the final piece should be a recognisable part of Kineton village.
Over a weekend, the chairman Kathryn Wickson and I, measured and cut up 70 pieces of quality paper and an A2 print of the photograph for the members, differentiated them (teacher alert) into difficulty piles, and put them all into numbered envelopes with strict instructions enclosed. I think the strict, clear instructions worked; we only had a couple of simple mistakes from the group!
During the following month, the members had to concentrate on getting their tile (as I called them) painted in acrylics. We insisted on acrylics as they dry more quickly (we didn’t want smudges when we were gluing all the jigsaw pieces back together), are bold, and the easiest for everyone to use. This time was rather exciting for Kathryn and I, as the tiles came flying back in and we got to see the quality of the work. When we had the majority of the tiles back, we secretly laid them out in the hall next door with the Exhibition Coordinator (Graeme Bassett), and was taken aback by just how brilliant it looked already.
The hardest bit was probably yet to come. Graeme, Kathryn and I then met to glue every tile down carefully onto a large piece of MDF board. It took four hours, lots of PVA, fingers, books, and Graeme quickly got fed up of using school glue spreaders that he just used his hands. In the end Graeme was the glue spreader.
We knew it looked good, but as you can see, we had to leave it overnight, under a lot of heavy books and boxes to ensure it stayed flat. Kathryn later spent a few more hours touching up any gaps between a few of the tiles (apparently artists can’t quite measure to the accuracy of an architect).
The day of the party soon arrived, and on the 14th April 2018 we celebrated together 30 years. Many of us brought a plus one too to share in the day. The amount of delicious food brought in by members I think demonstrated just how much everyone cares about this special group. After food there were speeches including: a little history about the art group given by Lyn, and the history of Compton Verney (our local art gallery in beautiful grounds) delivered by our Steven Parissien, the Director of Compton Verney. We enjoyed a quiz by our resident Gamesmaster Belinda, who organises something fun for every AGM, and on this occasion quizzed us on what was going on 30 years ago. Being 28, I wasn’t the most knowledgeable, but I think I made up for it on the music round! Of course, last but not least, we enjoyed the grand revealing of our art project with cake and a glass of bubbly.
I’m still so pleased with the outcome of this inclusive project. It is special and personal, being an image of our village and that every member, no matter what ability, had input into this piece. Not only that, but as a piece of artwork in its own right, I think it is fantastic.
What do you think?
To see more about Kineton Art Group, (and its upcoming exhibition on 12th and 13th May to celebrate its 30 years), visit: www.kinetonartgroup.co.uk