Sidmouth guild's town art pledge

PUBLISHED: 10:17 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:35 18 June 2010

A NEW guild of professional artists have set their sights on establishing Sidmouth as a creative centre of excellence in the South West- starting with their fist annual exhibition at Kennaway House.

A NEW guild of professional artists have set their sights on establishing Sidmouth as a creative "centre of excellence" in the South West- starting with their fist annual exhibition at Kennaway House.

The Kennaway Fine Art Guild was set up by a quartet of top South West artists in the hope they could utilise the house's new exhibition space following the completion of its £1million

From Saturday (October 3), up to 60 pieces of work from founders Robert Crisp, Neil Cox, Ray Balkwill, and Stephen Brown have been on display from 10am to 5pm and will be until Sunday (October 11).

The Guild has brought together distinguished professional artists who, while living and working in the South West, exhibit in some of the top galleries across the country.

These include the president of the Otter Vale Art Society Robert Crisp, who started painting full time in 1992, working from a studio in Sidmouth. Robert taught art both privately and for Devon Adult and Community Learning until recently when he decided to concentrate solely on painting.

Ray Balkwill is a well-known West Country artist whose watercolours, oils and mixed media paintings are much sought after.

Wildlife artist Neil Cox and oils specialist Stephen Brown, complete the Guild's line-up.

The artists have been given a helping hand from a Sidmouth business in their bid to utilise Kennaway House and establish it, and the town, as "a centre of excellence" for art in the South West.

Lynsey Brennan, who manages South West Art in Old Fore Street, has been working in association with the artists to help set up the project. She said: "This will be something totally different for Sidmouth. Professional artists work is of a different mould."

As well as mounting regular shows alongside its permanent display at Kennaway House, the Guild will aim to encourage the appreciation of art in the community with workshops, talks, school visits and other related events arranged throughout the year.

Lynsey added: "The principle on which the Guild has been built is the shared belief that art should be appreciated purely for the quality of the finished work. It should succeed or fail on its appeal to each individual, setting aside as it does so, the pretentious rhetoric that so often besets the world of fine art. The emphasis in this group is about lively brush work, composition, presentation and traditional values.

"Each artist within the guild works in completely different styles, mediums and subject matter and maintains an exceptionally high standard within their specialized fields. Coming from different working and academic backgrounds, these artists have developed their skills and built their reputation over many years of professional success and have now collaborated to bring you art of an uncompromisingly high standard."

For further information contact Lynsey on (01395) 514717 or visit

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