Oxfordshire Artweeks opens today, and organisers and artists alike hope the public will embrace and enjoy its new virtual format as enthusiastically as usual.
It is after all the UK’s oldest and biggest Artweeks, and this will be its 38th, and in many ways, most unique line-up so far.
More than that, artists often rely on Oxfordshire Artweeks to make up a key part of their earnings, so it’s more important than ever that we support them this year.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the arts and culture sector across the country. Usually during the Oxfordshire Artweeks festival, as much as a £1 million of art is sold,” executive director Esther Laffferty explains.
“For some artists, the annual Oxfordshire Artweeks festival is a key part of their livelihood. Most of the professional artists who take part are self-employed and the May festival is when potential buyers and clients meet them before choosing something to take home.
“We hope that people at home, both Artweeks regulars and newcomers, will support the county’s artists by going to the website and browsing our daily art themes and the artist’s on-line galleries. There are thousands of pieces of art to see; video tours of studios and exhibitions, live-streamed events and more. Everyone can get involved by liking, follow and sharing their favourites, and of course, we hope they’ll buy something to brighten up their home during lock-down.”
So how will it work? “Thousands of pieces of art are still being showcased, and we hope people who are missing their annual Artweeks days out can still explore through the eyes of Oxfordshire artists,” Esther adds.
“We also hope our virtual visitors will find a treasure to catch their eye”
Which is why the new online format is being divided up into different daily themes.
“Each day of the festival will present a different themed art trail on the website giving visitors a chance to escape the lockdown with a trip to the sea, for example, explore the country’s rivers and lakes, or go down the rabbit hole to Alice’s Wonderland.”
“They can also explore the local countryside and wildlife or take a mini-break anywhere from the Mediterranean to the icy Poles, and back again
“It’s a very green way to explore, allowing people to travel back and forth across the county – and around the world – in a moment, visiting artists whose studios are on the far side of Oxfordshire, seeking out the colourful, the precious and the unusual to bring colour and interest to each May day.”
“We also hope they will find a treasure to catch their eye amongst the thousands of pictures of work created by painters, potters, silversmiths, textile and glass artists, furniture-makers and more,” Esther adds.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy video footage of artists at work, explore ‘walk-through’ exhibitions on-line, and through-the keyhole-interviews with a number of artists.
“With hundreds of creatives taking part on social media, using the hashtag #oxfordshireartweeks, we hope to brighten up what, for many local people, will be long days in self-isolation or practicing social distancing,” Esther adds.
The Artweeks festival is Oxfordshire’s largest visual arts festival and the UK’s oldest and biggest Open Studios event. It is a three-week not-for-profit celebration of the county’s artistic and creative talent encompassing the visual arts in their broadest sense. Around 1500 artists take part and usually over 100,000 people visit Artweeks exhibitions each year and a million pounds of art changes hands!
Oxfordshire Artweeks www.artweeks.org 2nd-25th May 2020
Here are the themes by day:
May 2nd The local/Oxfordshire landscape
See the local countryside through the eyes of dozens of Oxfordshire artists.
Video link https://youtu.be/pDdn0qD_TAM
3rd Interior design and home comforts
Explore art and décor ideas to transform a home.
Video link https://youtu.be/-eUl_tpZs_g
4th A trip to the coast
Take a trip to the coast to see the sparkling sea, secret coves and bobbing boats through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/gs81PdmF1ms
5th Portraiture, pets and people
Explore people, pets, portraits and personalities through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/V0DU3Qcv2vw
6th Still life and simple pleasures
Explore simple pleasures through still life and other art.
Video link https://youtu.be/sG4xvutSf0E
7th Celebrating colour
See a rainbow of hope created from the art of Oxfordshire artists.
Video link https://youtu.be/OVqigQZaTzc
8th ‘Echoes of the Past’
Enjoy art inspired by the past, history and museum collections.
Video link https://youtu.be/ZaG4Kpd94xk
9th The garden
Enjoy the glories of the garden through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/00nNMhrIr1A
10th Adventures abroad
Travel the world through the eyes of dozens of Oxfordshire artists.
Video link https://youtu.be/lLI0dSQRsaw
11th Figures and form
Explore the human figure and other shapes in art.
Video link https://youtu.be/ZjJo9Fzs5MA
12th ‘The Beauty in Small Things’
See the delicate beauty of small things through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/T9knz56Rl6U
13th Elements of the earth
Take a journey through a world of art from stone, clay and metal to pigments and gems.
Video link https://youtu.be/0dwCdujTK3w
14th Rivers, lakes & waterways’
Take a trip through art inspired by rivers and lakes.
Video link https://youtu.be/IWLAE88xeeU
15th Horses, hounds and country wildlife
Explore the animals of the British countryside through art: from horses, hounds and to the bird and the bees.
Video link https://youtu.be/GLC4cFLm-f0
16thh Into the woods
Take a stroll into the woods through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/HwF_S24zKSw
17th Tactile treasures
Delight in textured art treasures that call out to be touched.
18th Fantastic beasts and other fairy-tales
Follow the imagination with fantastic beasts and fairytales through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/UOKmCxq3-Bo
19th ‘Patterns at Play’
Be intrigued and delighted by patterns in art.
Video link https://youtu.be/oECf6H_qWOU
20th Cityscapes and buildings
Explore cities and architecture through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/TRCjqWMFPD0
21st ‘Big, Bold & Beautiful’
Be wowed by the beauty of big and bold art.
Video link https://youtu.be/5uMzbpOUKeY
22nd Mountain views
Take a trip into the mountains through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/xt63K95MZCg
23rd Valuing mother nature
Celebrate the wonders of mother nature with art that reminds us to protect the planet.
Video link https://youtu.be/cAYKhvqBJ_I
24th Oxford’s dreaming spires
See Oxford through the eyes of its resident artists.
Video link https://youtu.be/X8NBqhq01eg
25th A Whimsical Wonderland
Take a trip into Alice’s Wonderland through art.
Video link https://youtu.be/3grc28bZODA