In 1946 a group of seven artists met at a local school wishing to share skills and enthusiasms and organise joint art exhibitions. They went on to found Exmouth Art Group with the agreed aim “to encourage the appreciation and practice of the visual arts in this district”.
Seventy years later with more than 200 members the Group keeps to this ambition. We meet regularly for demonstrations and critiques, talks by guest speakers, run informal painting sessions, arrange coach trips to art based locations and hold three significant exhibitions each year.
Since 1955, when some members first knocked at their door asking for permission to sketch in the grounds, we have been privileged to have the unfailing support of the Lindsay-Fynn family. Today Nigel and Heleen Lindsay-Fynn are second generation Patrons and take a close interest in the Group’s well-being hosting a reception each year at Lee Ford, their home in Budleigh Salterton.
Through generous sponsorship we are able to offer several awards. A substantial legacy left by Norah Pearse funds exhibition prizes at our major autumn event and Clifford & Sandy Lenn and Nick & Carol Williams donated the Channel View Cup for the artist whose exhibit is voted visitors’ favourite. In recent years, two trophies have been inaugurated by retiring Presidents May Neilson and Colin Marshall. These are the Neilson Trophy for the 3D Best in Show in our major exhibition, and the Mayor’s Best in Show Trophy at the Exmouth Festival Exhibition. For competitions a Salver donated by Paul Butler goes to the winner of Architecture and Landscape; a Cup bequeathed by the family of Neil Ashley for Monochrome Drawing and the Roger Matthews Cup presented to the winner at our Christmas party.
We have recently held our 70th Annual Exhibition at Ocean on Exmouth seafront and the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the occasion reassures us that we are set to continue for at least another seventy years.
Exmouth Town Council has been very supportive providing funding to help promote our major autumn exhibition. The Group has an unbroken record of holding this event and in 2016 we celebrated our 70th event. For many years our regular venue was the Elizabeth Hall, on the site of the Premier Inn, then Exmouth Community College, with one year at Rolle College’s Owen Building, and now, at what is becoming our traditional location, on the second floor of Ocean on Exmouth seafront. Our exhibition during the Exmouth Festival held for several years in the Council Chambers of the Town Hall is now at the Kennaway Centre on Victoria Road. Our association with the National Trust’s A la Ronde was well established and we have held a Group exhibition there in the summer and individual members put on their own solo events during the year.