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90 Years of Art

Words & Image: Chesterfield Art Club

Chesterfield Art Club celebrates..

What would founder member of Chesterfield Art Club, John Wheat, have thought in 1929 had he known it would still be a thriving club 90 years later? 2019 sees the club celebrating exactly that.

John was an accomplished artist and one of his works is hanging in the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, another is part of the permanent collection at the Dudley Art Gallery. Unfortunately John's life was cut short at 31 as he developed pneumonia and died when manning a post for the Oldbury Home Guard. Another founder member Phyllis Anne Hanson was long lived, dying at the grand old age of 84 in 1994. Her portrait hangs in Chesterfield museum as do many of her works of art, which were donated after her death. Her wish was to go to art college, but her father insisted she join the family saddlery business. She continued with her art, becoming an accomplished artist, she must have felt some sort of inner contentment and pride when she and John, along with President P.M.Robinson, chairman S.R. Moyes, secretary E. Cupitt and treasurer F. Haynes, first sat on the Art Club committees AGM in November 1930.

Held in Bradbury Hall, the rules were decided upon and concluded that ‘the aims and objects of the club are to promote interest in painting and kindred Arts’.

The club exists to provide a place where a friendly and welcoming group of people meet twice a month, to paint, draw and attend demonstrations from professional artists who share their knowledge and techniques.

Pollyanna Pickering was president for 26 years until her death in 2018 and was a conservator of wild-life, not only using it as her subject matter, from majestic snow leopards to the humble hedgehog she also worked tirelessly to draw attention to their causes through her talks, books and art work. The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation continues this work. Her daughter, Anna-Louise, has taken over her role as president and continues to award a trophy, in her mother's name, for the best wildlife picture, chosen by her, from our exhibiting art club members annually.

Today the club meets at Whitcotes Primary School, 7:30 to 9:30pm fortnightly on Fridays. Our annual programme includes, work nights, demonstrations and talks. We also nominate a subject that we can all try. You can join in the fun, or, continue with something you are working on. The emphasis is on friendliness and the club provides somewhere to talk art with like minded people. Our members currently work in acrylic, oil, watercolour, pastel, gouache, pencil and silk screening is also used.

Visitors are welcome to attend our demonstration nights (for a small fee of £5 to cover costs). These events are eagerly attended so come early if you want to choose a seat. We do not assume excellence as our club rejoices in having mixed abilities. We prefer to think of our club as a friendly social place and we learn from each other. Or join us on one of our outdoor painting days throughout the year. When the weather is nice there is nothing better than whiling away a few hours, sketch book in hand, with a few friends. Each year there are three exhibitions of member's work. This year we are exhibiting in Ashover Parish Hall on Mon 6 May, Beeley village Hall Sat 22 and Sun 23 May to coincide with the Beeley in Bloom event, and finally at the St Thomas Community Centre, Brampton on Sat 26 October.

Email :

Tel: Julie Nixon on 01246 237291 (Secretary)


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