Sculpture at Kingham Lodge 2021
The lockdown show
Like a train, we referred to the 2021 show as ‘the delayed 2020’ and spent a lot of time discussing whether or not it was going to go ahead. Again. And again. It was not until March 2020 that we finally accepted the inevitable and cancelled. We had messages of support from people who said they would miss seeing the garden (and the cake, and the sculpture….most of them in that order!) but it quickly went from being the right thing to do to the legally required thing to do.
Such a pity…the weather in May 2020 was stunning! However, we released photos of the garden and little videos set to the dawn chorus onto social media so people could stay in touch and we, like the rest of the country locked down.
As we came out of lockdown in early 2021 we closely followed the unfolding of the government’s plans. Could we….would we … try and mount another show in 2021? There was much debate about whether people would come, whether we could make it covid secure, whether we would cover our costs, if it was the right thing to do for artists, the public, the charities we support. Always up for a challenge we made our plans and bought miles of rope, one way signs and gallons of hand sanitiser.
The Show Must Go On
Ticketed to comply with track and trace, and not withstanding every technical problem that could and did arise, we opened on the 1st of May 2021 to what turned out to be a staggering 8,500 visitors. At times it felt like we were a champagne cork being shot into the air, there were moments of palpable release as people cautiously entered through the garden gates but quickly realised they could indeed wander around safely outdoors and actually enjoy themselves.
People were absolutely delighted to be allowed out, some arriving with tears in their eyes at their first ‘trip out’ in nearly a year. Some masked, all socially distant, we had our biggest show yet (possibly pent up spending power as well as pent up people) raising a staggering £130,000 for charity.
It was all worth it
We were delighted for our artists to have sold so much work after such a lean year, and even more so for the charities we support who were reeling after a year of almost no fundraising revenue.
From this huge success we have been able to launch an arts education programme in 6 local schools, doing all we can to give as many children as possible at least some access to ‘art for arts sake’ and the therapeutic benefit that brings, now totally removed from the governments education curriculum.
Thank you and see you again next time….
We are already excited to host our next show in 2023, at which we are hoping to return to our normal cafe arrangements…but bigger and better with a proper eat-in, home made vibe (you weren’t the only ones that missed it this year!). We know the charities are enormously grateful for the support we are able to give and even visitors on rainy days absolutely loved the show and went home to tell all their friends! So, see you again in May 2023.
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