Festival Art Sets New Local Record for Exhibitions

David Hicks into the dark MGSO4 arts festival 2016

Residents and visitors to Epsom and Ewell will soon be spoilt for choice as shops, businesses and venues prepare to host the biggest number of concurrent exhibitions of original artwork that the borough has ever seen.

More than twenty professional artists, and hundreds of semi-professional and amateur artists, will be exhibiting at 16 venues for MGSO4 Epsom & Ewell Arts Festival. The Ashley Centre in Epsom has given over the premium first floor area (formerly McDonald’s) as a light-filled atrium gallery space for local professional and semi-professional artists from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June. This inspiring exhibition includes diverse work by artists in various media from traditional oils, acrylics and photography, to textile and ‘live’ art creations.

Professional sculptor Asta Kalpokaite-Golias has developed an art game The Undoing, especially for the festival, involving words, clay and audience perception. Asta, who lives in West Ewell, said: “Artists need to be brave and show their work directly to public, and the public shouldn’t be afraid to question and communicate. For me, participating in the MGSO4 Festival has a much greater value than my art gathering dust in museums.”

Other Epsom venues include: Caffe Nero, The Ebbisham Centre, Epsom Framing Company, Derby Square, Lester Bowden’s glass carriage and the library in Epsom. Those venturing down the passageway next to Scope charity shop Epsom High Street will be rewarded by discovering the unlikely location for art duo HenryBragg’s Film Installation The Surrey Hills. In Ewell village, venues include Bourne Hall and All Things Nice café.

Festival visitors will be able to get involved themselves too, as part of The Big Draw, creating a communal artwork that begins in El Patio Restaurant, Derby Square and spreads through to The Ebbisham Centre. Visual arts workshops for children and adults include: illustration, feltmaking, lacemaking and zentangling.

Brian Ingram who is exhibiting in both Caffe Nero and also demonstrating a wind drawing machine and string painting outside Metro Bank, believes that residents are not fully aware of the breadth of artistic activity currently going on behind closed doors in the borough. He said: “Making visual art can be a very solitary experience but the arts festival provides a wonderful forum.”

Over the last few months the festival team has been working with a range of community groups to promote inclusion though the arts. Many of these organisations will be putting on their own independent exhibitions of artwork and activities, in association with MGSO4. They include: Rosebery Manor Assisted Living, The Sunnybank Trust, Priory Court, Linden House and The Beeches.

MGSO4 Festival exhibitors include:
Sharon Baker, Ana Consoni, Tracey Jane Cooper, Lydia Dawson, Sarah Dewing, Asta Kalpokaite-Golias, HenryBragg, David Hicks, Brian Ingram, Sheila Jolly, Brett Lohn, Ami Patel, Retouch, Helen Scalway, Jeanette Ridley-Eccles, Ruth Shepherd, Sonya Vine, Richard Waldron, Elly Wright, Zehra Hicks, Epsom & Ewell Art Group, Epsom Camera Club, Conquest Art Group, Brickfield Arts Group, Epsom & Ewell Schools

For full details of all artists, exhibitions, workshops and activities, visit: www.mgso4festival.org/events or pick up a festival programme from a participating venue.

Image: Into The Dark by David Hicks