A brief history of our Club
some of our long standing members
Around 40 years ago there were only two Art Societies that Budleigh residents had reasonably easy access to - Exmouth and Sidmouth, both with evening meetings.
A few people came together and decided to form a Club here in Budleigh. To ensure smooth running, continuity and most importantly, a level playing field for all members, rules, although not arduous, were to be strictly adhered to.
To retain membership, a fairly high percentage of attendance at meetings was expected, and a slightly higher one if submitting entries for the main exhibition.
Residents of Budleigh Salterton and the villages of the Lower Otter Valley up to, and including, Colaton Raleigh were eligible to apply. Application forms stated that all members should at some stage become committee members and to state which category they would prefer to fill.
To ensure the 'Founders Statement' was upheld, potential members must produce two current works - the standard was unimportant.
The committee member tasked with this was the Assistant Secretary. The committee was made up of Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary (also responsible for finding speakers/demonstrators), Exhibition and Social. There was never a 'hanging committee' and newsletters came sometime later.
Meetings were held at the Peter Hall starting 10.30am.
One early chairman said 'no earlier, as not only have I to get myself there in good order, first I have to feed my two cats'. This time was also considered appropriate for those arriving by public transport.
The Exhibitions (members could enter up to 4 paintings) were held initially at The Rosemullion Hotel or The Masonic Hall before moving to The Public Hall where we have been ever since.
In the early stages there were not enough paintings to fill such a large venue. On at least one occasion, Shiela Hinckley (our lovely late Vice President) devised a plan of inviting herself to tea with one or two members and, with her usual charm, persuaded them to find more work - in wardrobes, under the stairs and so on.
A few years later of course, the reverse!
Some paintings were too big so the committee decided on a sq ft area per member. Initially there were three awards: Watercolour, Line & Wash and Oil, this last was presented by our President Alan Cotton.
Most of the work in the early days was watercolour for which Alan remarked (a great deal more in sorrow than anger) that we were an ART Club not a watercolour society. (Fast forward 40 years - problem solved)!
Inevitably some members were more talented than others - one particular lady who had studied at The Slade School of Art in London, not surprisingly won the watercolour award 3 years running and was so embarrassed, offered not to exhibit for a while. 'No, no' said the committee, 'we will amend the rules so that anyone who has won an award cannot be eligible to be considered for that category for one/two years.'
Honour satisfied, this lady gave her time to give us one or two watercolour workshops.
This was also the case with a retired architect member, (very knowledgeable on Ruskin), who gave drawing classes. Sheila dubbed him our Drawing Master.
Money at the start was always tight. To save demo fees and hall charges one meeting was an 'outing' to a nearby exhibition.
As the money from subscriptions increased we got back to our meetings and the outing became an extra. Conversely, the Spring Lunch was a separate occasion but not always sufficiently well attended to make it financially viable so it became tacked on to the April meeting.
Involvement with the wider community was, of course, working with Danby House residents (see article below). Another occurred when the Budleigh Medical Centre moved to its present location. The then Chairman, Glynn Whittle came up with the idea that the Club could give some pictures for the Waiting Room. Accordingly the GP partners were invited to choose a picture each from that year’s exhibition. The artists were reimbursed from Club funds and the pictures remain in the Waiting Room to this day. Also two members gave a painting each to Budleigh Salterton Hospital. The one by the late Mike Shaw was used recently to make cards when the Hospital became The Hub, raising welcome funds.
Other, slightly later memories are of our Christmas exhibitions which became a fixture round the town for some years - on Late Night Friday. There were various venues - one being the skittle alley at The Feathers, just after the late John Salt had ceased to be Mine Host. John of course had been the originator of 'Talisman Framing' when it was situated behind the Fire Station.
... and Christmas Lunches
Who can forget our walking, talking Christmas Tree (aka chairman Nicki Carson)
So many great memories.
With thanks to Dorothy Ormerod.
Member for 38 years
The Danby House Project 1990- 2008
It was in the early 1990's that a call went out for volunteer art workers to assist at Danby House, Mudbank in Exmouth
Danby House was a residential and day care centre for mentally and physically handicapped people overlooking the River Exe. After another art group had declined to help, our Chairman, Alan Cotton, brought the matter to the attention of Budleigh Salterton Art Club who responded positively.
A group of about 6 volunteers assembled every Tuesday afternoon at the Centre and with materials procured through the Club and from other donations we would offer art help and inspiration and friendship for up to 15 participants each week.
The Project operated from 13.00 to 16.00 every Tuesday of the year except for 2 weeks at Christmas and New Year.
The project was supported throughout by Alan Cotton and we had our own section for their work at the Art Club's Summer Exhibition where 30 or 40 pieces of work carried out throughout the year were displayed.
The work was judged by Alan Cotton with awards for the most meretricious work. Much of it was presented mounted and framed by one of the club's volunteers. Tea and refreshments for the participants were provided by our Club at the show.
Tuesday afternoons were thoroughly enjoyed by all with many friendships made and good humoured banter throughout the sessions.
As news of our activities spread, participants would travel to us from as far afield as Exeter and Dawlish.
No mean feat when trains and wheelchairs are involved.
The Danby House Centre was eventually closed by the Council in 1998 and the site was sold and demolished. A new housing development has only recently taken place on the site.
The participants were greatly disappointed and they were relocated into different parts of the County. A sad ending for all concerned after 18 or so happy and productive years in the history of our Art Club.
With thanks to Ken Simmons. Hon. Member
Recollections by Jed in his own inimitable style from the Club's exhibitions, outings and other events .
Long standing members may recognise themselves and others in this selection of drawings from his sketchbooks over the years.
With thanks to long standing member, Jed Falby and his collection of sketchbooks
Some photos taken over the years
A selection from the archives and some sent in by members. Are you featured here, do these bring back memories and how many members do you recognise?
If you have more, please e-mail John Washington to let him know firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see if we can get them posted here on our website and at the August Exhibition.
... so, 40 years on and going from
strength to strength.
We hope you enjoy our Ruby Exhibition and continue to support this wonderful Club.
Next stop, 50 years. A Golden Celebration!