More than 100 people came to check out a new art exhibition in Haywards Heath on Friday (June 23).
Guests were given canapés and elderflower Champagne at the exhibition’s grand opening.
The free exhibition, Walking on Water, features 48 modern artworks from more than 30 major artists from an international and prestigious collection.
Dozens of volunteers rallied to help with the exhibition, which is being held at the Methodist Church in Perrymount Road and the United Reformed Church in South Road for three weeks.
Speeches were given by Nicola Sheldon, from the Methodist Church Art Planning Group, Judith Blocker, the curator of the exhibition, Sarah Middleton, a trustee of the art collection on show, and Nathaniel Hepburn, special guest and director of Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.
Nicola, who leads the art exhibition planning group, said: “We had been planning this exhibition for two years and can hardly believe we’ve managed to do it.
“The Methodist Modern Art Collection is stored in Oxford and tours the UK and abroad, usually to galleries and cathedrals, so it’s very special to have it in our town for three weeks.”
Both churches have been transformed into gallery spaces, with white display panels for the artworks.
Nathaniel, special guest and director of Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, shared his longstanding enthusiasm for the work of many of the artists featured in the exhibition, such as Edward Burra and Graham Sutherland with the audience.
Visitors are being welcomed to the exhibition by more than 70 volunteers who have been trained to help people explore the artworks and their background through looking guides which curator Judith has put on the website.
Visitors can read them at the exhibition or follow up at home using the handy numbering system for the artworks.
Judith said: “I feel it is important for people just to enjoy looking at the paintings, rather than being distracted by lots of text next to them.
“On the other hand, there is plenty of information available to those who want to find out more both in the exhibition itself and on the web.”
Nicola added: “We had a fantastic response to our appeal for volunteers. Most of them are from local art groups and churches and want to help visitors to enjoy the art and find out more about these wonderful paintings.”
The exhibition is open every day until July 16, from Monday to Saturday.
There is a programme of talks, concerts, workshops and school visits taking place throughout the exhibition.
Visit www.walkingonwaterart.org.uk for more information.
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