Holmfirth Art Week:
Since 1967, Holmfirth Art week has been building a national reputation as one of the UKs most prominent open art festivals. It celebrates the talents of over 4oo local artists in an exhibition, market and fringe galleries, with all proceeds being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support. On the 4thof July, I spent one day walking around the incredible range of art on show in the main Exhibition in the civic hall.
I have never been to an art exhibition quite like it. I have been to many smaller exhibitions by individual artists, but never to an exhibition of the same scale and variety. The art week featured sculptures, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and wirework, photography, ink and pencil drawings, oils and paintings. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to one of the exhibitors, who talked me through the process of making his silverwork. All of the volunteers and artists at the exhibition there were so kind, and willing to answer any questions I had about the artwork on display. I found it particularly interesting that there was such an eclectic mix in one room! It introduced me to some art forms that I had never really come across before- I especially liked the ceramic work made by Miren Aspinal, a talented local artist who produces stunning wall sculptures amongst other things. I have ignorantly only ever thought of ceramics as pots and vases and she proved it is so much more!
There was also a small stall where you could buy craft supplies, cards and jewellery.
Perhaps one of the only improvements that could be made was the location of the main exhibition. Whilst the civic hall is the hub of the community, it was not purpose built as an art gallery, and therefore the constraints of the space, such as the lighting, mean that some pieces aren't showcased at their very best. The art week could also be aimed more at young people, as although it advertises some youth arts programs and children are welcomed, the layout wasn't aimed at budding young artists! When I attended, I was one of only a few young people there. As I walked around the gallery I was able to really appreciate some beautiful art and quietly reflect, but perhaps it would have been good if there were more activities available for children. I think that this would be a really positive change, as it would inspire local children to engage with the arts and not view it as boring.
Overall, I found visiting Holmfirth's art week an amazing experience that really opened my eyes to different art mediums. I was glad to be able to be involved in an event that not only interested me as an artist, but that raises so much for charity. The artists, volunteers and staff at the exhibition did an incredible job raising thousands of pounds for Macmillan and made it so much more special. It was a true community event.
I learnt from it how powerful art can be. I saw visitors astonished by the pieces they saw and I really hope that one day I can achieve that with my own artwork. I also learned that art can be so unbelievably diverse, as many different cultures, faiths and passions were represented in the gallery. And finally, I learnt through talking to them myself, what inspires local, small scale artists to do what they do. I would recommend to anybody to visit the Holmfirth art week next year to see art on display, but also to support a brilliant cause.