Due to the life-altering events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant collapse of national art selling exhibitions, I wanted to find a way to safely exhibit artworks once more in the real world.
As lockdown measures began to be relaxed, an opportunity to open a pop-up shop on one of Carlisle's major trunk roads appeared and after a careful risk assessment I decided to invite other Cumbrian artists to partake in a new exhibition initiative. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and just the attitude we all need in these challenging times.
Due to social distancing rules and the physical constraints of the venue, each artist was asked to submit one or more pieces of work with a maximum size of 45 x 45 cm and offered for sale for no more than £200. This is in line with the amazing Artists Support Pledge Scheme in which many of exhibiting artists are already participating (more here).
In an effort to create space for new and emerging creatives, younger artists have been sought out who I hope will benefit from the experience of exhibiting alongside established, award winning artists and in turn, bring their own vitality and spirit to PROSEED.
The primary aim of the event is to grow a new, cohesive collective of Cumbrian artists and provide a platform to showcase contemporary artworks, ceramics and artisan jewellery in the non-tourist areas of the county. I'm hopeful that future PROSEED events will take place in other pop-up venues elsewhere in Cumbria in the coming months and include performance art and public engagement.
PROSEED 2020 sold more than £6000 of new art which was amazing bearing in mind the maximum £200 price limit. I’m delighted that so many pieces from so many artists found new, appreciative owners and deeply grateful to all those customers who who visited with total respect for the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of the PROSEED Summer Exhibition has inspired me to host another event this year and the PRESENCE Winter Exhibition will happen in Carlisle from 27 November to 6 December 2020. A pop-up gallery will open at 9 Crosby Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 1DQ from noon to 8 pm each day and will feature over 60 artists.
With sincere thanks to Andrew Watson of Watsign for providing his generous graphic design skills and continued inspiration.
Follow @proseed2020 on Instagram for the latest news on participating artists and more.