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Click here for Pictures and Articles on this year's Open Exhibition.

The exhibition programme lies at the heart of the Academy's annual calendar and an enviable record of achievement has been created in the twelve years since the Academy's formation. That part of the Academy's objectives stipulating that the Academy 'should promote the appreciation and practice of the Fine and Applied Arts' is well served by a programme that ensures that practitioners from all over the South West are offered, at least once a year, the opportunity to display their latest work in prestigious city centre surroundings, in a well-supported Open Exhibition, which has become an exhibition of choice for many patrons of the Arts in our region. To enrich and encourage participation, the Trustees and Academicians exhibit alongside the selected Open entries, and invest considerable funds into a series of prizes for each Open, including the Lionel Aggett Memorial Prize awarded to the 'Best in Show' (excluding Academicians), in memory of the distinguished painter and former founder member of the Academy. Other prizes are given to work selected by the public and our sponsors. To serve the needs and aspirations of our Academicians, the Academy stages an annual Academicians' Exhibition. This exhibition features new work from all Academicians, including our distinguished Honorary Academicians, and is usually planned for the Spring. Restored by the Trustees to the calendar in 2009, this show has proved highly successful and well supported. Shows at the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, Kennaway House in Sidmouth, and the Gloss Gallery in Exeter have attracted good reviews and excellent support.

To 2008 the Academy staged annual Young Artists' Exhibitions in Exeter featuring the work of children of all ages from schools across the region. With the mantle of responsibility for this annual event passing to the County in 2009, a gap in our calendar has stood ready for a new initiative in this area. The Trustees have now planned a new open award for 2012 for the most promising young artist in three age groups up to age 20. Winners and runners-up in each category will be the subject of an exhibition in 2012 to showcase their work with all the supporting events associated with our larger shows.

Calendar: Exhibitions and Events

Drecki Lecture 2015  Date to be announced

Academicians Exhibition 2015  18th Aug - 9th Sep.

Open Exhibition  28th Sep. - Sat 3rd Oct.

Young Artists Exhibition 2015  Date to be announced

Hanging the 2010 Open Show. Picture by Alan Jones

Academicians Exhibition 2015 - Private View
Photographs by Alan Jones

On Monday 8th June 2015, in the two Terrace Rooms of Exeter Castle, the South West Academy held its Private View Evening in the company of a large and enthusiastic party of invited guests. Newly appointed Chair of SWAc, Phil Creek, opened the proceedings, emphasising the underlying aims of SWAc in promoting a high standard of fine and applied art in our region and the continuing need for fund raising initiatives in order to make this possible.

The Academy was delighted to award Honorary Academy status to Jed Falby, a previous President of SWAc, and to long- serving founder member of the Academy, Dr Alan Cotton. Alan responded with a few well-chosen words.

Phil highlighted that, apart from a single paid member of staff and some limited freelance support, all the work of the academy is carried out on a voluntary basis by a small group of dedicated and enthusiastic members, friends and Trustees. He thanked John Hurford in particular (whose birthday it was that day) and his team, who had worked so hard in hanging the exhibition. Phil also thanked departing Secretary Penny Keen for her major contribution to the administration of the Academy over the last few years and reaffirmed that the Academy will miss her. On behalf of The Trustees Jenny Pymont presented a floral tribute to Penny.

Phil then introduced Academician and Trustee, Ann Jones (Ann L Roe) whose family portrait of Marine Commando Captain Jon White was on display. She explained that while leading his troops on a patrol in Afghanistan in 2010, Jon was injured by a land mine, losing three limbs. Now well on his way to recovery, Ann spoke of his remarkable courage and resilience and the pleasure it had been to undertake the portrait of Jon and his young family. She then invited Jon to open the exhibition. It was soon evident from his opening words, that Jon is an exceptional young man with the ability to lead and to encourage leadership in others.

Jon pointed out that although art had not been one of his strongest subjects at school, the love and appreciation of art and artists had grown as he grew older.

He was impressed by the huge variety of the artwork on display at the exhibition and how the work of each artist could be judged on its own merits. He commented:

'...there is no negative judgment here ...a warm and generous acceptance of the whole of humanity is obvious... what you as artists and the academy in general achieves is to create something that the rest of the world should aspire to, whether it be in politics, business, sport or religion… that is why the work of artists and the role of exhibitions of this kind are so important. This is a brilliant place to be.'

For the first time, an on-line catalogue was produced on the SWAc website to display the work of the exhibiting Academicians. Work was sold directly from the on-line catalogue (even before the exhibition began!) and so, wherever possible, on-line catalogues will be used for future exhibitions.

An innovative 'secret sale' of work, organised by Academician Charlie O'Sullivan, was a feature of both the opening and the continuing exhibition. Sales of the small-scale work, which were bought unseen, were very good and it proved to be a popular activity to be repeated in the future. The Academy book “Art, People, Place” also sold well and there were brisk sales of the books of members Jed Falby and Jonathan Coudrille.

During the exhibition, visitors voted for the work that they felt was their favourite or most worthy. The artist who received the most votes was June Arnold who consequently received the award for the public vote sponsored by The Georgian House Gallery, Ottery St Mary. Further exhibitions are planned as follows:

A summer Academicians' exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter from Tuesday 18 August to Wednesday 9 September 2015.

SWAc Open Exhibition is from Tuesday September 29, to Saturday October 3 2015 at St Stephen's Church, High Street, Exeter. Entry forms and further details can be found on this website.

Ann Jones

Photographs of the June 2015 Academicians Exhibition Private View

Photographs by Alan Jones and Phil Creek
Exhibitions staged by the Academy 2000-2014

Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix, 2000
Christmas Exhibition, Ceramics and Prints, Exeter Phoenix, 2000

Schools' Exhibition, Me and My World, Exeter Phoenix, 2001
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2001
Winter Exhibition, Drawing, Illustration and Glass, Exeter Phoenix 2001

Schools' Exhibition, A Special Place, Exeter Phoenix, 2002
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2002

Schools' Exhibition, Through My Own Eyes, Exeter Phoenix, 2003
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2003
Academicians' Winter Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix, 2003

Schools' Exhibition, Drawing From Experience, Exeter Phoenix, 2004
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2004

Schools' Exhibition, It Appears to Me..., 2005
Open Exhibition, Exeter Phoenix and Royal Albert Museum, 2005

Open Exhibition, Cube3 Gallery,University of Plymouth, 2006

Schools' Exhibition, Our Environment, Cube3 Gallery,
University of Plymouth, 2007
Open Exhibition, Clifford Fishwick Gallery, Exeter, 2007

Young Artists' Exhibition, Life's Journeys, Exeter Cathedral, 2008
Open Exhibition, CCI Exeter College, 2008

Academicians' Exhibition, Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter, 2009
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2009

Academicians' Exhibition, Kennaway House, Sidmouth, 2010
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2010

Academicians' Exhibition Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2011
Open Exhibition, Exeter Castle Galleries, 2011

Academicians' Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2012
Open Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2012

The Lens And The Easel, Exhibition staged in partnership
with Michael Carter SWAc, Ariel Center, Totnes, 2013
Academicians' Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2013
Open Exhibition and Young Artists Exhibition, Gloss Gallery, Exeter, 2013

Academicians Exhibition and Book Launch, Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter, 2014
Open Exhibition and Young Artists Exhibition, St. Stephens Church, Exeter, 2014

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