This exhibition is close to my heart, because my involvement with it helped me to realise that curating is for me!
In addition to helping to curate the show, I was a judge on the selection panel and part of the steering group which helped to create and shape this first open submission exhibition at the Waterside. On show in the Lauriston Gallery and the Gallery Bar, the exhibition ran from 2nd February to 12th April 2008.
The 1st Waterside Open was a major success receiving nearly 650 submissions, of which around 200 were selected and exhibited, showcasing a wide range of contemporary art and craft from established and emerging makers in the North West and across the UK. It was a challenging hang, because the selected artwork ranged widely in subject, style and art form, with paintings, prints, photography, textiles, ceramics, sculpture and jewellery in the mix.
Four prizes were awarded. The Best Artwork in Trafford Prize went to Briggitte Soltau for her sculpture ‘Hulme’ and two Highly Commended Prizes were awarded to Christopher Leyland for ‘Remember’ and Audrey Hayes for ‘Exposition’. A record number of 25,000 visitors came along to the exihbtion during the two-month run and they had the opportunity to vote for their favourite artwork. The Vistors’ Choice Award went to Joe Simpson for his photo-realist painting ‘Almost There’.
The Open is now a biannual event at the Waterside Arts Centre. Building on the success of the first exhibition, the selection panel for the Waterside Open 2010 included iconic local muralist Walter Kershaw and internationally renowned textile artist Alice Kettle.