Spotlight on Pontefract Art Club

Pontefract Art Club has been meeting weekly for more than 40 years with a membership of around 40 amateur artists.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 2:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 2:18 pm
Members of Pontefract during their annual trip to Cober Hill, near Scarborough, in 2019.
Members of Pontefract during their annual trip to Cober Hill, near Scarborough, in 2019.

The club, which meets at St Giles' church, was founded in early 1978 by keen amateur artist Alan Bracken and more than 150 pieces of work went on display for that year’s inaugural event.

His name adorns a trophy that is still presented to the most improved member of the club.

Pontefract Art Club is open to all members of the local community over the age of 18 years.

Pontefract Art Club in York during a fair they were exhibiting at before lockdown.

The club’s aim is to promote and foster interest in the arts and they do this by organising workshops, demonstrations and inviting professional artists to talk about their work.

However, lockdown in March 2020 resulted in the weekly art club meetings being cancelled for the first time in their history.

It was decided that, to keep the club going, a weekly task would be set via email.

Members were given full instructions to complete various painting and design challenges ranging from holiday memories, figure drawing, abstract landscapes to wallpaper designs.

The latest challenge was to create 3D sculpture from rubbish members had in their house.

The results were very creative and fun.

Photographs of the finished artworks were then posted out to all members, the local community and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Members are now on task 55 and will continue doing these tasks until they can meet again.

The annual exhibition had to be cancelled this year but it was decided to exhibit virtually over a period of two weeks posting a couple of paintings each day.

Sales were also generated by exhibiting this way.

Club secretary Rhona Crichton said: “We also decided to raise money for the Prince of Wales Hospice by selling hand-painted greeting cards and paintings.

“This proved to be a very successful venture and we raised more than £1,000 in 2020 for the hospice with all members donating paintings which were sold for £10 each.

“We will continue fund raising this year.

“So although we have not met as a club, we have certainly had a very successful, yet different 15 months.

“Our art skills have continued to be imaginative and creative, our profile has been raised within the community and our use of technology has certainly improved.

For a number of years, members of the group have visited Cober Hill, a Victorian mansion, set in 11 acres of stunning grounds, in the North York Moors National Park.

They spend five days painting and the hope is that this can resume before too long.

For more details visit the Facebook page @pontefractartclub or Twitter @artpontefract