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Black Swan Arts highlights

A year of huge successes and major art events, strongly supported by an energetic team of volunteers, trustees and office manager, gives Black Swan Arts in Frome a positive launch pad for an exciting year ahead.

This year’s exhibitions encompassed work by a diverse range of artists, including Seamus Nicholson and Steve Burden, both individual winners of the Black Swan Arts Open Solo Prize, Clive Walley, Ricky Romain and Frome Art Society. Over the summer, an international touring exhibition of selected sketchbooks, SKETCH 2017, promoted the diversity and importance of drawing and the role of the sketchbook in contemporary creative practice.

Autumn saw a hugely appreciated and evocative show, ‘Hinterland’, in which textile artist Gladys Paulus revealed her remarkable traumatic family history through ancestral healing costumes and the symbolic use of materials, including felt. Each piece was laboriously hand-made; she grew dye plants from seed, made charcoal and moulded copper. Visitors travelled from near and far, with one remarking that it was ‘powerfully affecting, beautiful and universal’. At the same time, three other exhibitions ran as part of Somerset Art Weeks Festival, with around 1,500 visitors enjoying the experience of so much high quality art under one roof.

The Black Swan Arts Open was another well-visited and inspirational exhibition, with the work selected by a prestigious panel of judges including broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and Dea Vanagan of Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

Various workshops and artist talks have engaged the community throughout the year. A BBC ‘Get Creative’ event involved Black Swan Arts artisans and MA artists from Bath Spa University, who offered drop-in taster workshops for families. Through funding from Visual Arts South West, Black Swan Arts has been able to offer a series of workshops for young people alongside gallery exhibitions, including ‘Grow with Your Sketchbook’ and ‘Sculptural Drawing – Organic Forms’, giving opportunities for youngsters to explore their creativity with experimental approaches. Another workshop is scheduled to tie in with the Black Swan Young Open next spring.

A revitalised Black Swan Arts Friends scheme offers members discounts and special events, and Black Swan Arts is enormously grateful to its growing band of volunteers. If you would like to get involved, either as a Friend or a volunteer, please contact Black Swan Arts on 01373 473980 or visit www.blackswan .org.uk.

The arts centre is reopening in the New Year from Tuesday 2nd January.

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