1st – 16th June
Part of the Adur Festival
Saturday 1st June
Over 80 artists are exhibiting in 27 venues over three weekends and some weekdays.this year. The map lists all the venues exhibiting – it looks like an even split between open houses per se, and some commercial venues opening all week. I decided to concentrate on the open houses and group shows as I wouldn’t be able to see everything in one day.
Unfortunately the map doesn’t give opening times and if you don’t have access to the internet where there is more information, it does risk disappointment if you turn up and find some of them aren’t open. Some are only doing Sundays, or certain weekends only – it makes things complicated.
There’s easy access to the town by train, and the first venue is right by the station.
Look out for the big blue footprint notices and bunting telling you which venues are open today.
Shoreham Gallery 
An artists’ cooperative in a small shop just by the station. Some of everything here; Ember Vincent’s raku ceramics – little pots and vases in smoky greys and sunset reds, plus silk painting, stained glass ornaments, wood carving, jewellery and paintings. Julian Richards’ “Out of the Mist” pencil drawing of a stag in woodland is subtle, detailed and enigmatic.
St Mary de Haura Church 
Shoreham-bySea has been here a long time, and as you walk around you’ll pass through centuries of English history. 18th century townhouses and cottages, Victorian terraces and some sixties horrors all sit side by side. This 12th century church is fascinating – built soon after the Normans arrived, it has stood at the heart of the town ever since. You can see thousand year old stone carvings Norman arches and sturdy ceilings as the backdrop for this group show. Edge along the pews to look at paintings displayed around the columns, Karolyn Mnich’s prints “South Down Walks” in greens and blues and Tom Aylwin’s Coffee Table in fumed English oak and ash with glass.
St Mary’s Hall 
This much-loved community building has been through some tough times, but it looks as if at last it’s being cared for along with the rest of the town, which is going through something of a renaissance. Pass the green suit of armour sculpture by the door and upstairs to the next group show; Centrepiece. I noticed Marcus Finch’s raku pieces and ceramic pictures [“Green Man” especially], Siobhan Jones’ designer glass [fused glass beach pieces and the free-flowing curvy “Nude”], Kim Adele Fuller’s paintings of water and landscape [“The Big One”, “Wave Action III” and “Guarding the Pass”] and Frans de Leij’s accomplished watercolours. I had to ask this artist’s name as it has been left off his biography! I loved “Autumn Lane”; waves and woodlands are his inspiration, as with so many of the artists whose work I’ve seen this year.
Apparently the new footbridge construction has taken longer than initially anticipated, which means there is no quick access over the river to the houses on the other side as there usually is. But there is a free shuttle bus operating between each end of the closed bridge – easy to use, plus you get a good view of the town’s setting and surroundings. It’s a gorgeous day, the tide right out leaving a sparkly trickle, with views of houseboats, beach huts, the Art Deco airport and the hills.
The other side of the river, now. Maybe it’s the light, the relaxed and sunny atmosphere, the shingle-loving plants, the shells and pebbles everywhere – you’d know you were on the edge of England, even if you couldn’t see the sea.
37 Ferry Road 
See Karin Hay White’s abstract waterfront paintings here.This characterful property, The Anchorage, with a ship’s canon and anchor in the front garden must have been alone with its thougts by the sea for many years until the modern developments sprang up around it.
11a Riverside Road 
This is an artist’s open garden – little notes written on flat beach pebbles and slates look very effective. Follow the enticing signs and pebble path round to this secret garden scooped out of a tiny space for beach hut photography, stained glass and driftwood sculptures by Louise V Durham, and jewellery in the brilliant shed, made of reclaimed wood. A great welcome and a chat over a herb tea.
18 Benbow Close 
A friendly dog to greet me here. Photography, embroidery and hand-felted pictures, and through to the courtyard garden with another attractive summer house, showing ceramic leaf and fish ornaments. Tea and coffee cake [£2.50 for charity] and good conversation with the resident artists.
Back onto the bus to the town centre now.
Upper Gallery 
The Marlipins Museum is hosting a show by a group of textile artists showing embroidered and embellished pictures, hangings and patchwork, machine embroidery and applique work. Textile art included Jacqui Hardcastle’s “Ammonites II” and Debbie Hammond’s trio “Terns 1,2,3.”
Lower Flat  Below Mako Hair]
This cool, sunny white apartment is showcasing paintings, jewellery and ceramics by several artists seen at Art @ the Boundary as part of Hove Arts Trail. After Elizabeth Green’s delicate flower paintings, Jan Irvine’s impressive charcoal figures and Royston Hawley’s black-framed small boats battling dark storms, time for tea and cake [£2 for charity] and a great view from the beach garden overlooking the river. No-one seemed inclined to leave and the gallery room became quite a focus for visitors over the next half hour.
Star Gap 
Next door is an intriguing house. It’s always difficult to tell where the water ends and the land begins in Shoreham, and this house right on the water front feels like a ship moored at the shore. See Chris Howitt’s stained-glass window hangings against the river backdrop, and Abby Martin’s sculptures in the decked garden.
67 West Street 
This 1930s house is a very smart space, its gallery kitchen showing some stylish photography and intricate hand knits. I did like the cushions with a row of buttoned-on Scottie dogs. Painting included Susannah Hopkinson’s landscape and seafront watercolours with considered detail and muted tones, and some William Morris inspired paintings of flowers and fruit.
Ropetackle Centre 
Finally to the busy community centre for theatre, music and art – a big venue for Wenche Fagerheim’s larger scale paintings of the Northern Lights and a wintry blue-green world.
I saw about a third of the venues today; several are situated in Lancing and Southwick as well as further out and about in Shoreham-by-Sea itself, so it would take several visits to go everywhere. A wide variety of locations and work in an attractive town with plenty of places to eat and drink, and some glorious views to enjoy.