Fairford Art Society History
By Wendy Robinson
To celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, interested parties were invited by Geoff Chick to
attend a meeting at the Fairford Centre to discuss setting up various groups
that could benefit the community and make full use of the facilities.
Eileen Normington, Jenny Dennis and I volunteered to set up an Art Group, later to be
called the Fairford Art Society. We started by meeting, in the downstairs room
at the Centre, on Wednesday afternoons and some Saturdays, when we would set up
a still life and Jenny and I would give help to beginners. Eileen was a very
enthusiastic beginner. Other more experienced artists used the opportunity to
paint and mix with others with a shared interest.
As new people joined, including some very talented artists, we formed a committee
and established monthly evening meetings. In the summer, weather permitting,
these were held out of doors. We became more organised and voted on a
chairperson, secretary and treasurer - we now had a membership fee and a
constitution. Sallie Seymour had joined our little group of founder members and
we grew in strength. Geoffrey Edgeler, a working artist, designed our first
Our first exhibition was held in the downstairs Church room at the back of the
Centre building. It was successful and more people joined. Due to the increased
number of paintings submitted our next exhibitions were held in the Centre
itself. We bought second-hand screens from another Art Group, which proved very
heavy and difficult to store, so we later invested in some new screens. Tony
Cutler, very helpfully, offered to store them in one of his barns and transport
them in his trailer.
Later exhibitions, because of better light and more space, were held at Coln House
School - firstly in the Dining Hall and later in the larger School Hall.
Membership increased by people from the surrounding villages and even Witney and
Swindon. One member from Lechlade went on to form the Lechlade Art
In the early days our more experienced or qualified members gave demonstrations or
ran working sessions for the other members, but after we became more financially
sound we were able to pay for other artists to come. We now had an exhibition
secretary and a programme secretary. We were also exhibiting in the doctors'
surgery and at Easter as well as in the summer.
It is a joy to know that the Art Society is now able to use the beautifully
restored Fairford Centre and is retaining the yearly programme of demonstrations
In November 2020, by a unanimous decision of the committee, Sallie Seymour and Wendy Robinson were granted Honorary Life Membership of the Society