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Burgess Hill Artists Launch Their Winter Exhibition At The Woolpack Pub

28th November 2018 | By Peter Chapman

If you want to be a bit highbrow this December, then you may wish to consider a trip to the Woolpack Pub in Burgess Hill to see the latest exhibition featuring the work of The Burgess Hill Artists.

An added bonus is that you get to see the pub's Christmas lights and their unique interior decorations. BHU went along to meet Melanie Hodge to find out more in our latest community interview.

BHU: Melanie, please tell us about yourself!
My name is Melanie Hodge and I have been the chair of Burgess Hill Artists now for five years. I’m a self-taught artist. I learnt to paint on glass when I was in Croatia. All of the work that I exhibit here is primarily prints of originals as glass paintings are harder to exhibit. I’m a member of a London networking group called ‘Be Smart About Art’ I’m a member of the towner-based Blue Monkey network and I’m exhibiting at the Brighton Artsits Open Houses network this December at 21 Salon Des Sources.

One of the things I’m really keen on is helping people feel more confident about exhibiting their work. So whether they like making, and they’ve pictures in different mediums, or they work in ceramics or jewellery, we try and work with that, to build up their skills and to also direct them to networks outside of Burgess Hill so that they can develop.

BHU: Why are your group exhibiting in a pub?
Burgess Hill Artists have been exhibiting at the Woolpack for 4 years now. We were originally 'The Burgess Hill Open Studios’ which was running in people’s homes  for over 10 years, but when Mike and Sarah Wallace moved away, the infrastructure of the group changed and we went down from being around 30 artists to 6 artists - we're now up to about 14 members - and so the Woolpack was the perfect venue for us.

With only 6 artists, we didn’t want to be doing open-houses, there was no trail to be had, publicity was really hard, so Lance (Woolpack Landlord) wanted to get more community stuff going on in the pub, so he offered us wall space.  

'Racing Unicorns' an acrylic painting by Jayne Crow can be yours for just £100

How often do you exhibit here?

We are here twice a year for group exhibitions, that’s for the June Summer Festival and then we do Christmas.  We had our first member's solo show in October – that was Emily Hutchings, and we are looking to have two more solo shows next year , Mike Duck who does a lot of local and urban landscapes and Sandra Smith – who works at Burgess hill School for Girls.

What prices is the art set at?

They range from £28 in this exhibition, to original work of around £175. We have some artists who exhibit prints and those range from £30 to £150.

How can people make a purchase?
If you want to buy a piece of art, then you can go ahead and talk to the person behind the bar. The bar takes the money and passes it to the artists, and if you have interest in a particular artist, you can contact us though the contact page on our website and generally I will respond and I can meet people and talk about the art if they want.  If it’s on the wall, it can go.

It's a good time to come along what with the Christmas decorations?

Oh it is, it's fabulous with the decorations at the moment!  It’s our best time of year. They’ve put some lights up around the artwork so it lights up the art much better than you’d see it in June.

How can people get involved with The Burgess Hill Artists?
Membership is £35 per year. That covers two exhibitions with us per year and we only take 10% commission, that goes towards donations for the Cherry Tree Centre on Fairfield Road – that’s for anything sold through our activities.

We meet up regularly,  every 6-8 weeks to discuss upcoming exhibitions and if we don’t have anything coming up then we just try to get together to say hello and just this year we’ve started exhibiting at the Lindfield Arts Festival which takes place in September – so that was our first ‘going out of Burgess Hill’ exhibition experience.

We also have a website ( http://www.burgesshillartists.co.uk/ ) where membership gets you a listing and we’ve just added individual artist pages too.

How can people keep informed of what the Burgess Hill Artists are up to?
We have  a Facebook group ( https://www.facebook.com/BurgessHillArtists/ ) which lists our upcoming activities and we have mailing list for people who want to get general notices who may not want to join yet but just want to see what we’re doing.


To see some of Melanie's own work online, check out her page on the Burgess Hill Artists' website here: http://www.burgesshillartists.co.uk/melanie-hodge/4594451424 or via her own website: https://mjhodgeart.co.uk/

Spread the word! The Burgess Hill Artists are currently exhibiting at the Woolpack Pub

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
Have you been to see the exhibition yet? What do you make of the pub's decorations?

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