The Cork Street Open Exhibitions were held from August 2008 through August 2013. During that period they were the UK's fastest growing independent open exhibition, often filling two large galleries in the heart of Mayfair, London's art dealing centre.
Over the five year period 9 separate exhibitions took place and thousands of submissions were received from across the UK and around the world, each being carefully reviewed by the panel of judges comprised of experts in the contemporary art market.
The final selection of approximately 200 works was comprised of paintings, original prints, photographs, sculpture, prints and graphic art and was hung in salon style over an eight day period. Cash and materials prizes were awarded by the judges in a number of categories.
The exhibitions gave both established and emerging artists a platform for showcasing and selling their art while percentage of all sales was raised for different selected charities.
How it all Started
In the autumn of 2007 I sat in my car waiting for my daughter to finish a photography course at the London College of Fashion. We lived several hours from London and her 5 week course allowed me time to catch up on my reading, today I had four weeks of Big Issues sitting on the seat beside me.
I remember the details of that day because the seemingly unrelated events of the past week seemed to culminate in a decision that changed my life and led me down a path I hadn’t known existed. So just how did The Big Issue change my life?
I remember the Bird’s Eye View article Oh Yea of Litter Faith, wherein editor & Big Issue co-founder, John Bird talks about an exhibition at the Red Fern Gallery on Cork Street. And I remember the pages and pages of charities that Dame Anita Roddick had been involved with, founder of, or contributor to.
Two weeks earlier I would have been hard pressed to tell anyone who Dame Anita Roddick was. But for some reason, from the first headline I read of her death, she captivated me. I had read internet, newspaper and magazine articles, looked at business reports and visited her website. I was impressed and amazed that one person could have so much energy and be so involved. But more than that I was aware, aware of how little time I spent making a difference, aware of how afraid I would be to stand up for causes – even ones I believed in, and aware of how difficult I would find it to even say the word’s, “I am an activist”.
Before I could settle into an entire afternoon of self-absorbed loathing and self-pity three more words jumped out at me – “Just do something.”
And so it was that I decided to organize an Open Art Exhibition for Charity. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for both emerging and establish artists to exhibit and sell their work while benefiting a different charity each year. To date we have selected charities that serve children. We endeavour to raise funds for the charity through the sale of private view tickets and works of art, while helping to raise the charity's profile and introduce new supporters to their cause.
See What the press have said about Cork Street Open Exhibition.