The H Art festival – Private View of Herefordshire Open Exhibition

Welcome again!

Thank you kindly for your support! We are overwhelmed by the attention we have received after posting the two reviews of the h.Art Artist Market! We have never thought so many people would be visiting us, reading our posts and then sharing them with others! A big, big thank you! There is nothing more satisfying for us bloggers than to know our hard work was well received and appreciated.

The Artist Market was just one of the many attractions prepared for the annual h.Art celebration. The whole festival lasted between 8th and 21st of September 2012. If you’d like to know more about it, please take a look at the previous posts:

Front page of the invitation to the Open Exhibition

With literally hundreds of exhibitions, art presentations and open days organized, it was not in our power to visit all places. We had to limit ourselves and choose the most interesting options for us. Apart from the Artist Market in the High Town, we were invited to a private view of the Herefordshire Open Exhibition. The grand opening was held in Hereford Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 7th of September between 5.30 and 7 pm. It was paired with the opening of the Herefordshire Young Exhibition in The Courtyard Centre for the Arts on Edgar Street.

When we arrived at the opening, we didn’t know what to expect. There were not many information available before the big day, almost like the organizers wanted to keep us in the dark on purpose.  All we knew, was that the exhibition was a collective one, covering traditional paintings, photography, sculpture, installation and new/digital/mixed media. Only when we entered the exhibition hall, we realized how big the project truly was!

Back of the invitation lettre

Hereford Museum and Art Gallery has been chosen very carefully as a host for the exhibition. Not only it is located in the same heart of the city on Broad Street but it also shares the building with local library and is well known to anyone who lived in Hereford for more than two weeks. Few days before the opening, a big billboard has been displayed on the balcony informing the general public of the exhibition. We have received our private pass from the owners of the Apple Store Gallery that allowed us not only to meet the artists and other Herefordian celebrities but also to have a glass of wine. A true VIP treatment!
Apple Store is located on Bridge Street, a short walk from the Museum and Art Gallery and they always have private invitations to various events to give out. If you are visiting Hereford and you do not know where to go or what to do, please come and visit them. Marion, the owner of Apple Store will gladly help you out. You might even buy some splendid pieces of art from her.
Their website can be found here:

Pink ballons leading to the gallery

The first thing that surprised us was the pink balloons! They were everywhere: attached to the stairs, walls and ceiling, floating among the guests and being kept by guests and staff members. Several artists came fully dressed in pink and posed for photographs standing next to enormous pink h.Art banners. Rita asked one of them why they decided for this particular colour and the response was that everybody loves pink! The soundtrack was also very colourful: we had a chance to hear Cyndi Lauper with “True colours”, several Pink hits (including “Let’s get this party started” at the beginning), “Pink” by Aerosmith and the all time favourite “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychodelic Furs.

h.Art catalog and empty glasses

Drinks and refreshments were served in the Woolhople Room, a small private library used for presentations and meetings of the Woolhope Naturalist club. Guests could choose between rose and white wine, Coca-Cola, several juices (orange, apple, pineapple) and various local beer and mineral water brands. Special fizzy strawberry (non-alcohol) champagne has been offered to kids but it was very popular among adults too 🙂 At least 7 museum and library workers served as hostesses for the thirsty crowd!

This is what we call a great service: the guests enjoy drinks and good company.

Woolhope Room is the headquarters of one of the oldest naturalist clubs in the UK and is still very active. The members have access to a large collection of unique books that we had a chance to see while ordering our drinks. Here’s the picture taken by Rita just to show you how the room looks like when used for academic purposes and not as a bar 🙂

Private library of the Woolhope Club, dating back to 1851!

As promised, The Open Exhibition was very varied. The organizers gathered exactly 100 pieces of art from 50 different artists. Preparation took nearly 6 months and 20 people have worked full time to make everything happen. What we truly loved about this event was that the exhibiting space was cleverly designed. Each artist has been given a small personal space for his/her art and the guests had to navigate between white moving walls and pedestals. The main door and the back entrance have been left wide open letting the audience to move freely among the artworks without creating a traffic jam. Standing at the back balcony and looking inside, we had the impression that we are looking at a large white maze.

Guests admiring the artwork

In three hours at least 500 hundred people showed up in the gallery to see the artwork and discuss them over the glass of wine. We have seen local politicians, authorities, jewellery makers, BBC Hereford and Worcester workers, Sunshine Radio presenters, Hereford Times and Hereford Journal writers and many, many others. Our friends introduced us to several artists and their family members and guess what? We have been invited to even more events! Our social calendar is filling up very fast these days 🙂
Please take a look at the following pictures from the opening. Let us know if you recognioe somebody you know on them!

Another picture of the opening crowd. Please notice the white moving boards in the backgrounds creating little artist nooks.
Discussions about art can be heated sometimes. Some guests loved the artworks, some truly hated them. Nobody was left neutral – a true victory for the artists!
A man is taking a closer look at metal sculpture placed on a white pedestal. Most artworks have not been placed behind the glass, giving the audience a chance to take a closer look at every piece of art.

Hope you enjoy this showrt review.
Please come back soon as in the next entry we will present you all the best artists and their masterpieces that impressed us the most.
Have a great day,

Rita and Mal

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