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 71st 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.
The Group has an unbroken record of holding an Annual Exhibition and in 2016 we celebrated our 70th event presided by Guest of Honour Mary King MBE. For many years our regular venue was the Elizabeth Hall, formerly on the site of the Premier Inn, then Exmouth Community College, and for just one year at what was Rolle College’s Owen Building. Our traditional location now, however, has become 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 relocated to the Kennaway Centre on Victoria Road but for the first time last year we were at Ocean.
Previously, we had a long association with the National Trust’s A la Ronde holding a Group exhibition there in the summer and individual members still put on own solo events in the tearooms at different times of the year.