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  • Anna Poulton

Visiting Art Exhibitions- Sometimes – Often - Never?



For artists –I’ve heard different views about visiting as many art exhibitions as you can. Some people say it can damage your confidence, or influence what you do instead of being totally original. For others, it’s a very positive part of their development as an artist. You get to see other people’s work and learn from it, talk to them about materials and techniques, as well as see where your work ‘fits’in (important for pricing).


If you are not an artist, but enjoy looking at art and meeting artists then visiting an art exhibition can be a frequent event, without having to travel far and very rarely costing anything to enter.


In Gloucestershire. we are blessed with a wonderful range of artists and exhibitions: major national and international artists, local artists and makers, university students, enthusiastic amateur artists We have a whole range of exhibition spaces: full time galleries both public and commercial , libraries, pop up spaces for artists to rent for a week or two, outdoor spaces, village halls, shops, offices and restaurants – all across our towns and villages.

You get to meet interesting people with a passion for what they do and see different kinds of art: - work you love, work you admire, but wouldn’t want to live with, pieces and styles that that just don’t ‘do anything for you’. And then sometimes, you find a piece of art that really ‘talks to you’ and brings you joy.


What ever you think about the work, it takes a lot of bravery and resilience on the part of the artist to put their work out there for public scrutiny, so please respect that. It’s also a LOT of hard work to get people to come to your exhibitions, so if you get invited to one, please pass it on to as many people as you can, even if you can’t go yourself.


Never been to an art exhibition? There might be lots of reasons for this, but it doesn’t need to be any of these.

It shouldn’t be about cost. Very many are free, and offer some time in a warm dry place, away from the rain or hustle of everyday life. Children are welcome too.


It shouldn’t be about feeling intimidated or out of place. Every artist I know genuinely wants to share their work with other people – whoever you are.– that’s why they do it. It does make me very cross if ever I visit an exhibition and the people on duty don’t welcome everyone with a smile or a friendly greeting. Generally, though, this is because some artists are quite shy and don’t find it easy to know what to say.


It shouldn’t be about whether you can afford to buy anything. Artists really are used to people not buying their work! A lot of exhibitions will have pieces for sale at a variety of prices from originals to small prints and cards. Buying a card allows you to own the work of an artists you love or give it to someone you care about.

You really don’t need to buy anything, (and no one will make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t) but if you do buy a card or two you are supporting these artists to keep going, making the art they love and giving us all the opportunity to enjoy exhibitions.


So what else?

There are some things I’ve never been to that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy: – wrestling, a little girls’ beauty pageant.

There are somethings I didn’t think I’d like, but I’ve found, in the right circumstances I’ve enjoyed them: - a classical concert, a live football match, an archery competition. Generally, I’ll try most things at least once and be glad that I have, even if I don’t become a frequent visitor.


Action for Happiness.co.uk has a different theme for each month. Novembers is ‘Do Something New’

If you’ve never been to an art exhibition, there’s still time to visit one this November. Perhaps it will be the first of many.