The Attenborough, Beeston, and Chilwell Arts Trail and The Importance of Artist Space

Words: Rita Mitchell
Sunday 14 May 2017
reading time: min, words

At the beginning of June, there's gonna be an art trail in Nottingham South, and our Rita is here to tell us all about it, and provide a little context to the idea...

In Virginia Woolf’s novel A Room of One’s Own, it’s suggested that to be creative you need a space to develop both your imagination and your skills. By space, she meant mental and emotional space; time to think and develop, as well as a physical room in which to lay out the tools of your art.  

She was, of course, writing about art in relation to the struggle of women in the early twentieth century, and the problems they had in finding their own space, especially within a marriage.

Times have, thankfully, changed, but today artists and craftspeople, both men and women, have the same requirements.  A room, be it the spare bedroom or a purpose-built studio is so important.

The Dutch painter Mondrian, also writing early in the last century, believed that art would soon disappear as life became more balanced.

He asserted that, “Art is a substitute for an equilibrium that reality lacks, at present.”

Is life becoming more stable? I don’t think so. Maybe to engage with something for the sheer pleasure of it is what we all need in these troubled times.


Maybe to engage with something for the sheer pleasure of it is what we all need in these troubled times.

Artists make many choices to produce their work, and those choices reflect who they are and that is what makes art so interesting. For artists, to create something from nothing, except what is in their heads and hearts, is a powerful urge. To share that with others is a blessing which we value.  Reality is one thing: what someone makes of it is always worth exploring.

So find the people who create within your community, and share their pleasure of the work.

Artists’ studios are, to many people, a place of mystery and therefore interest. This fascination has produced a plethora of television programmes showing potters, painters and crafters at work. Now there is a growing trend of offering the public a chance to get personally involved by following an artists’ trail.

There are many open studio trails around the country, and my trail is in Nottingham South. The Attenborough, Beeston and Chilwell Art Trail is on the first weekend in June.

Open Studios in our area started with just a few artists in 2006. Those of us involved at that stage noticed a growing interest by the general public in viewing not only the art but the processes involved. We enjoyed not only showing our work, but also sharing the ideas and explaining how a piece is made.

Since then, the concept has grown and is now a fully functioning community event. Artists and creative makers using a range of media are busy preparing for another Open Studios trail for the first weekend in June.

Thirty artists at fifteen venues will open their studios or public venues for you to see their work, to share their expertise, and to buy contemporary art and crafts.

The artists’ spaces are where the magic happens. Paintings and pottery; jewellery and textiles, the secrets of their making are usually just the kind of conversations that we love to have with visitors.

Bring friends, family, kids – all are welcome.

Attenborough, Beeston and Chilwell Arts Trail takes place on Saturday 3 - Sunday 4 June 2017, from 11am - 6pm daily. Visit the website below to find addresses of all the venues, and for further information.

Attenborough, Beeston and Chilwell Arts’ Trail website

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