New art fairs launched for Goodwood and Brighton racecourses

Organisers: left to right Fraser Renton, Leah Michelle and Oliver Norris
Organisers: left to right Fraser Renton, Leah Michelle and Oliver Norris

Sussex gains two major new art fairs this year, boasting works from scores of galleries and independent artists.

Sussex Art Fairs (West) runs from May 17-19 at Goodwood Racecourse. Sussex Art Fairs (East) will then follow at Brighton Racecourse from October 11-13.

Yapton-based artist Fraser Renton is one of a team of three organising the events – and hoping they will become fixtures on the calendar.

“A lot of art fairs around the country are based in race courses because the venues themselves have the facilities to stage such an event,” Fraser explains. “But it is also the fact that they are prestige locations.

“I am an artist myself and I exhibit at a number of art fairs around the country, but because I live in West Sussex, I could see that there was a gap in the county. I suggested it, and Goodwood loved the idea. As soon as I went to see them, they basically said yes, and we are hoping that Goodwood and Brighton will be a big success.

“At the moment we are just concentrating on West and East Sussex, doing one fair in each, one in April/May time and another in October. I don’t have any plans to branch out further at the moment. We haven’t actually had the fairs yet, but if they are a big success, then perhaps we might be looking at other locations.

“This is my first venture into being an organiser, but my partners Oliver and Leah manage fairs in London, and they are very experienced organisers. But I am really enjoying it. The irony is that I have never done it before, but when I mentioned it to Oliver and Leah, they both jumped at the idea!”

Fraser added: “Throughout the two main halls of Goodwood Racecourse, visitors will find thousands of artworks from more than 100 carefully-selected artists and galleries all available for purchase.

“The first hall will have 20 gallery and artist collective stands and the second hall will include 80 up-and-coming and established independent artists (local, national and international) all of whom you will be able to meet to make the art-buying experience that little bit more special.

“Taking place over three days, the event starts on the Friday evening at the ticketed private viewing where visitors will be able to browse their favourite artworks with drinks from our full bar and be the first to view exhibitors’ beautiful collections before the event is open to the general public over the weekend. The fair will then be open all weekend for visitors to find that special work of art for their homes or offices.

“Prices of art start from as little as £50 for prints and smaller works to more than £5,000 for an outstanding masterpiece, so there will be something to suit every budget and every type of art buyer. All purchases will be wrapped by our specialist wrapping team artPAKK located near the exit.

“To make the visit more pleasant, our fair facilities include a coat check on arrival, a full café serving teas, coffees and snacks over the weekend and tidy toilet facilities.

“The venue is wheelchair accessible and small dogs are also welcome, which we ask to be carried whilst inside the venue.”

Fraser added: “In order to give back to the local community, Sussex Art Fairs will be collaborating with the Sussex Wildlife Trust by having original artworks donated by our exhibitors for sale with all profits going to the Trust.

“The Sussex Wildlife Trust is a conservation charity, and the money raised at the fair will continue to protect the wonderfully-rich wildlife all around the Sussex towns, countryside and coast. We are excited for them to be part of the fair and hope.”

Opening: Friday, May 17, 6pm-9pm, the private view; Saturday, May 18, 10am-6pm – public day; Sunday, May 19, 10am-5pm – public day.

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