The next few months will see the return of the familiar summer buzz at The Green Man Gallery with three major exhibitions and a packed programme of music, comedy, theatre and poetry during the festival season and beyond.
“We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure the season goes with a swing,” says Events Manager, Caroline Small who has spent the last few months working on detailed plans to ensure that the gallery’s major summer events can take place safely. “There’s still so much uncertainty but I’m confident that we have really good systems in place to cover any eventuality.”
The Buxton Spa Art Prize exhibition, now on its seventh year, is back at the gallery until 25th July. There is over one hundred art works on display in the fully accessible Ground Floor Gallery along with entries for the children’s and young people’s competition in the Workshop Room upstairs.
Artists come from all over the country to enter the competition which requires them to do at least some of their work en plein air. You may have seen artists on street corners, in the woods, parks and hillsides during May and June. Now is the time to view their celebration of Buxton’s buildings, daily life and natural environment in a wide range of 2D media. There is also the chance to vote for your favourite art works in the highly coveted People’s Choice award. “With so much to take in, it’s worth visiting more than once,” says Caroline.”
In the first-floor galleries (open for the first time since lockdown in March 2020) you can visit the Resident Artists’ exhibitions and open studios. There are ever-changing displays of paintings, printmaking, photography, mosaics, mixed-media and ceramics and an important new joint exhibition for Buxton Fringe, Where We Are Now.
“The pandemic has caused many of us to pause, reflect and take stock” says Caroline, “so we’ve chosen a simple theme for our Fringe exhibition this year. The group show is a celebration of theirs their art and inspirations which also explores the stories, processes and techniques behind the art.”
Joining the Resident Artists on the first floor is a very special art work by guest artist, Amanda Cirillo. Aquae Arnemetiae: Past, Present and Imperfect Future is a large, four-panelled painting depicting the story of Buxton’s mineral spring, from myth, through history and into an imagined future. “Amanda entered the painting for our open exhibition and we were so impressed that we felt it deserved to be seen more widely at a time when Buxton attracts so many visitors.”
All these exhibitions are open every day until 25th July and there is no need to book.
In late July, the Buxton Spa Prize makes way for something completely different: the Centenary Exhibition of the Pinnacle Club, a national association for women climbers which was founded in 1921.
The exhibition, from 30th July to 28th August, includes art works by club members, photography and archive materials. “As a gallery on the doorstep of one of the best climbing areas in the UK, we’re delighted to help Pinnacle celebrate this milestone.”
Live on stage with Buxton Festival Fringe
Live performances are back once again on the gallery stage with a programme of 34 performances during Buxton Festival Fringe.
There are shows by both national and local performers including award-winning theatre and comedy; jazz, folk and classical music; poetry from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day, and a few shows which are hard to define. The gallery’s 1930s baby grand piano features several times and a trio of classical musicians have create a concert programme inspired by the work of the Resident Artists. You can explore the rhythms of English poetry or immerse yourself in jazz singing which will melt your soul. There are two panel shows combining comedy, history and contemporary culture; there’s moving contemporary drama; there’s disco and there’s drag.
“Audiences appreciate the relaxed and airy feel of the Ground Floor Gallery with its fabulous acoustics,” says Caroline. COVID restrictions mean that there are fewer shows in the more intimate Workshop Room venue this year. The audience layouts will be socially distanced meaning this extremely popular venue will operate at 50% of its normal capacity so it’s essential to book early, either in person at the gallery, by phone or online via the gallery’s website.
Can you help to support the arts in Buxton?
If you love arts, culture and creativity, The Green Man Gallery needs you! As a not-for-profit organisation with no paid staff, the gallery relies on an energetic team of local volunteers to provide this unique creative resource at the heart of town. At this exceptionally busy time of year, they need of extra volunteers to help with the seven-day opening and for evening performances.
Fringe show volunteers help Caroline to manage front-of-house and get to see the whole performance for free. Day time volunteers are needed for morning or afternoon shifts, working alongside a Resident Artists who will show you the ropes.
“It’s a vibrant place to be in festival time with a diverse range of visitors and some great conversations.” Even if you can only offer half a day or half an evening you will be welcomed warmly at this friendly venue. Please contact Caroline on [email protected] if you’d like to help.
Own original art! You can support the future of the gallery by buying something, however small, from the wide range of original work including prints and cards.
Customers can spread the cost of more expensive items through its Buy Art payment scheme, or if you only have pennies to spare, throw them in the donations jar and help the artists keep the lights on for another year.
Opening times (during the festival) are every day, 10.30am – 5.30pm. From 25th July 2021, open every day except Thursday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.
Entry is free and there’s no need to book. Full wheelchair access to ground floor. Limited parking off Hardwick Square South.
The Green Man Gallery, Hardwick Hall, Buxton
T: 01298 937375