‘Living Art’, the International Organ Festival Art Exhibition, opened the ten day music festival with a flourish in Kingsbury Barn on the evening of July 6th. It coincided with the St Michaels Folk Festival. Outside, the street was packed with dancers and music, inside the double gates of Kingsbury Manor 300 guests walked through the lovely garden to the barn where the private view of the IOF’s first ever art exhibition was held. This was to run for the next ten days, including several evening openings to coincide with the late-night Festival concerts taking place in St Michael’s Church.
The exhibition was Lady Verulam’s idea. As a patron of the IOF and herself an artist of note, she had suggested to the Artistic Director, David Titterington, that it would be an interesting adjunct to the music festival.
Various local galleries and venues were considered for this professional show but in the end the very best space was definitely Jill and Adam Singer’s incomparable Kingsbury Barn. Luckily, it was free and Jill with her usual generosity made the whole venture possible.
The selected eleven artists were asked to submit up to twelve paintings each at a selection day held at Gorhambury back in March, where a small panel made their choice, narrowing the paintings down to seventy-eight works. There was no theme but the 13th century barn was held very much in mind in choosing some large and vibrant canvases to be hung along the beamed walls. Mick Dean, Graham Boyd, Linda Smith, Dione Verulam and Virginia Corbett were each represented like this.
In contrast to these larger works, the more intimate pieces were placed on the cross-shaped display panels running down the length of the barn. The result, helped by Colin Innes Hopkin’s specially designed lighting and Donato Cinicolo’s clear and elegant labelling, was a spacious and beautiful gallery. Robert Baggeley’s exquisite and delicate prints were more than done justice to; Carolyn Attewills’s moody landscapes shone and the other artists beautifully represented were Tessa Cole, Lynette Hirschowitz and Vanessa Maisey.
Rory Young the sculptor lent a fine cast of his Millennium Pilgrim, made for Southwell Minster. This gazed down in splendour from one of the pillars at the entrance, as people wandered in. It looked as though it belonged there and perhaps it gave visitors a flavour of what to expect from the sculptures commissioned from this artist by St Albans Abbey for the Rood Screen.
As word went round, the exhibition’s visitors grew in number. It was to be ten days of delight. It would not have been possible without the support of Jill, Adam, Joe, Kevin and Frasier at Kingsbury Barn. Thank you to you all.