There is a thriving art scene in and around the area, with the stunning scenery of the countryside being a natural muse to the artists and creators that live and work in the area. Oxfordshire even has it’s own art festival every spring, Artweeks, which takes place across the north and south of the county across two weeks.
Every year in May, a non profit-making company called Artweeks brings together many talented and varied artists and designer-makers across Oxfordshire, for a three week festival of art. Established in 1981, Oxfordshire Artweeks is the country’s oldest and biggest open studio event.
Public and private spaces and homes (all with free entry) are opened up to the wider general public to exhibit artworks throughout the county of Oxfordshire; one week for South Oxfordshire, another for Oxford city and a final week for North and West Oxfordshire (18th-27th May).
You’ll find and experience a wide variety of media; painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, furniture, glass, mosaics, jewellery, with an opportunity to discuss the artworks with their creators. It’s a fantastic way to see firsthand how local artists work and also to discover how they’re inspired to create their works in the first place.
Banbury Museum often holds free or ticketed art exhibitions to run alongside their permanent displays, some of which are touring the country, but a new dedicated exhibitions gallery named The Pye Gallery has been announced. It will play host to major works of art such as JMW Turner, Roy Lichtenstein and others, helping to transform the museum into a major regional cultural venue.
This will a be a fantastic development for Banburyshire, bringing people of all backgrounds together to view world-class art in a unique setting. There’s plans for partnerships with other galleries and museums such as Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum in London) to ensure visitors to the gallery will provide an excellent experience.
Set in 120 acres of ancient parkland, Compton Verney is a huge country house that also happens to house an excellent, award-winning art gallery. The art doesn’t just stay indoors however, with sculptures and installations often dotted around the parkland and lake. Compton Verney is situated north between Banbury and Stratford-upon-Avon so is well worth a visit if your heading towards there, Warwick or Leamington Spa.
The Church Lane Gallery nestled in the heart of Banbury’s ‘Old Town’ area, is a new and welcoming addition to the town. Make sure you pop in and say hello if you’re passing.
The Wychwood Art Gallery sells affordable and original art online, as well as its gallery space in Deddington. The Director of Wychwood Art, Deborah Allan, has previously worked for both Christies and Bonhams auction houses, so has excellent experience and insight into what makes a good work of art. The gallery represents some of the UK’s leading artists, but also displays and sells more affordable works, perfect for your home or office.
The Heseltine Gallery is a glass and steel structure, situated at the Chenderit School, in Middleton Cheney. It showcases the work of artists and craftspeople alongside the school’s pupils. The gallery is run by volunteers supported by The Friends of the Heseltine Gallery, who’s members help curate a programme of regularly changing exhibitions. The space is open during term-time between 11am and 3pm – and at weekends for specific exhibitions.
Rightangle in Brackley offer an ever increasing range of studio pottery, art glass, jewellery, engravings, etchings and paintings in their gallery and online.
In Enstone, near Chipping Norton and the Soho Farmhouse, you’ll find a treat of an art destination in the Artyard Cafè. John Clarke and his team host exhibitions and events, yet also serve up locally sourced food and drink, with a space dedicated to live music.
The Mill Arts Centre is a beacon for anyone that enjoys the creative arts. There is an exhibition space on the ground floor with a particular focus on local artists, or events that tie-in with the programme of live events on offer. There is also a busy schedule of events ranging from theatrical performances, ballet, comedy, dance, music or anything that inspires and embraces creativity.
The Mill is a registered charity that helps to encourage community, education, business and social welfare for the area, through the provision and showcasing of creative arts.