THE Great Sheffield Art Show is celebrating its 25th event this year.
It was in 1988 when a group of volunteers discussed plans to provide struggling amateur artists with a platform to showcase their work.
Since then the Great Sheffield Art Show has gone on to successfully sell hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of art on behalf of new artists, provide a springboard for emerging talent and has led the way for similar events around the country. Along the way founder Isabel Blincow was awarded the MBE.
The organisation of the event might still be reliant on volunteers but the sheer scale of the task involved in staging their 25th anniversary event taking place in the Octagon Centre next weekend is now reliant on a small army working 12 months ahead to ensure the North of England’s biggest grassroots event of its kind goes without a hitch.
Its legacy is woven into the region’s arts landscape - it has been instrumental in helping hundreds of artists turn professional and go onto enjoy glittering careers.
Mike Fearne, one of the show’s co-organisers, said: “There’s no highbrow attitude at the event.
“Professional artists like Helen Parsley and Trevor Neal who have the Great Sheffield Art Show to thank for helping develop their own careers happily see their paintings hanging side by side with the scores of amateurs that are having their pictures exhibited in public for the first time.
“We know how daunting it can be for new and aspiring talent, we like to think we’re approachable and very down to earth.”
This year’s three day event showcases and sells more than 1,400 exhibits of all types including oil, watercolour, acrylic, pencil, pastel, digital, 3D and more; offers workshops and entertainment for children and more. It’s set to be the biggest in the show’s history.
Mike Fearne added: “We’ve weathered the recession and found interest in the event at an all-time high. We’re expecting a big turn out once again.”
The Great Sheffield Art Show runs from Friday, June 29, until Sunday, July 1, at the Octagon Centre, following a preview evening on Thursday, June 28.