OXFORDSHIRE’S annual celebration of art has proved as popular as ever, with thousands of people visiting exhibitions around the county.

Artweeks, which is the country’s oldest and biggest open studio event, closes this weekend and has seen around 100,000 people visit 450 exhibitions.

Painters, photographers, potters, silversmiths and other artists have been hosting free exhibitions in their homes and studios across Oxfordshire for the past three weeks.

Festival director Esther Lafferty said: “It seems to have been going very well. The festival is as popular as ever but it is too early to say whether we have had more people than before.

“For me the magic of Oxfordshire Artweeks is finding real surprises tucked away and what is really nice is meeting the new artists.”

Oxfordshire Artweeks was founded in 1981 by a group of professional Oxford artists who saw a similar “open studio” model in the USA and thought the idea could work well at home.

Venues such as churches, cafes and houses, as well as Oxford’s colleges, are turned into temporary exhibition spaces during the festival, which is ending on Monday.

Ms Lafferty said some of her highlights from this year’s festival have included: Headington painter Kamal Koria; Sophie Thompson, a sculptor from Milton-under-Wychwood; and Abingdon artist Pip Stacey, who works in glass, pottery and textiles.

Among other artists featured in the festival were partially-sighted painter Susan Ryan and Geoff and Wendy Clifford from Chadlington, who work with paint and ceramics respectively.

Cowley resident Leeann O’Callaghan helped create a mosaic bird when she took her children Lainey, four, and Cade, 18 months, to the Florence Park children’s centre.

She said: “We were doing birds to go on the wall of the children’s centre. They have come out really well.”


  • Our top stories: