Vibrant summer exhibition attracts celebrated artists to Sudbury

The Sudbury Art Fair in St Peters Church features local artists Mo Folkes-Miller, Anna Boon, organis

The Sudbury Art Fair in St Peters Church features local artists Mo Folkes-Miller, Anna Boon, organisers Robin Drury and Michele Webber and Anne Lowe. - Credit: Su Anderson

Sudbury is becoming a “vibrant” centre for the arts according to the organiser of a seasonal exhibition in the town.

The Sudbury Summer Art Fair, which is raising funds to support a £1.2million makeover of St Peter’s Church to turn it into a hub for events, attracted around 300 people to its opening night on Monday.

Featuring more than 500 pieces of artwork ranging from oil, acrylic and watercolour painting to jewellery, glasswork and ceramics, the show in the historic redundant church on Market Hill will run until Sunday afternoon.

Among the 60 exhibitors are a number of high profile and award-winning artists including John Glover, Roy Connelly and Judith Glover. The breadth of styles and subject matter is wide, ranging from prints by Lucy Perry who regularly exhibits at Gainsborough’s House to watercolour specialist, Michele Webber.

The exhibition’s organiser, Robin Drury, said: “There has been a feeling in recent years that Sudbury has been a grubby market town on the way down, but suddenly it’s becoming a Mecca for artists and there is a really vibrant feel about the place.

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“The preview evening was a prime example, attracting around 300 energetic, colourful people and there was a real buzz.

“Many of the artists exhibiting here are hoping to meet up on a regular basis to try to build on this going forward.”

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Last time the exhibition was held in 2014, it attracted around 3,500 people over the four days and this year it will be open for six days from 10am to 8pm and until 5pm on the Sunday.

Mr Drury described the standard of work this time around as “astonishing”.

“We have really upped our game in terms of the standard,” he continued.

“Lord Andrew Phillips who spoke at the preview said he had recently been to the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition. He said in his opinion, the Sudbury exhibition knocked spots off that.”

The idea is also to raise money towards an ambitious scheme that would see toilets, a new kitchen, improved storage and interactive interpretative facilities for visitors installed at St Peter’s.

Mr Drury added: “This building is ideal for an art exhibition as it is centrally placed and has great character.

“Galleries are closing down all over the place and artists don’t have anywhere to exhibit so having somewhere like this available to them offers a great way to showcase their work.

“However, we do regularly get asked where the toilets are in the church. It’s essential for a venue like this to have the proper facilities.”

In a bid to capitalise on the warm weather, tables and chairs will be put outside St Peter’s in the evenings all this week to enable visitors to take advantage of a pop up café serving coffee and cakes.

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