A little over 30 years ago, the late Ken Last, a founder member of Milnthorpe Men’s Forum, suggested holding an art exhibition in St Thomas’ Church as a way of raising money for both the Church Restoration Fund and other local charities and good causes.
Another member, Jim Robson, said “An art exhibition? In Milnthorpe? You must be joking!” But Ken was right and 30 years on Milnthorpe Art Exhibition boasts it is ‘The Largest Open Art Exhibition in the North West’.
The first exhibition was held in 1990 and comprised only 30 paintings and 27 photos, most of which were for display only not for sale. However, with initial costs met by Sponsors and Patrons and income from catalogues, catering and raffle, the Exhibition was able to donate £650 to both St Thomas’ Church and the Lorna Brooksbank Appeal in support of a local family.
By 1994, the exhibition comprised 424 paintings and 27 sculptures with no room for photographs. Since the exhibition started, the number of exhibits has averaged over 400, the total of donations is over £170,000 and the number of charities and other good causes supported is 52. This year, as well as St Thomas’ Church, the Exhibition will support North West Air Ambulance, The Bendrigg Trust and Eversley Choir.
The exhibition has had a continuing relationship with Dallam School ranging from an open invitation for students to submit exhibits in the early years, through a separate exhibition held in the school concurrently with the main exhibition, to the current arrangement where the school selects the best painting from both year 11 and year 13 students to exhibit.
This year, the 30th exhibition will celebrate a historic milestone in the life of a significant social and cultural event in Milnthorpe by displaying all the catalogues from the previous exhibitions and a full list of all local charities and good causes supported. The problem is that we have been unable to track down a copy of the catalogue for 1991 – do you have a copy in your attic or in the garden shed? There must be one out there somewhere………there will be a prize for the first good copy received.
Also, we know four local charities or good causes each received a donation £300 in 1995, but they are not listed by name in the accounts and the cheque stubs have long since disappeared. Can you help? Did you or your group receive a donation in 1995? Again, there will be prizes for confirmed recipients.
If you are an artist and would like to exhibit please put yourself on our mailing list by clicking on the link below and send us an email: