Earlier in the year, I started a series here on the blog called ‘Maidenhead Moments.’ Having lived in Maidenhead a few years now, I’m getting used to the events and activities that take place, but I thought it would be helpful to share a bit more about the ‘why’ for some of these events.
The first post in the series talked about the Chinese New Year parade on our High Street. I think the obvious assumption is that you would travel to China Town in London for festivities, but we actually have our own Kung Fu school here in Maidenhead, and each year they do a ‘show stopper’ of a parade with dancing dragons, drums, and firecrackers.
This post is all about the ‘Art on the Street’ event which sees our high street transformed into a bustling art market for a day.
What’s Art on the Street all about?
Here’s what Marie, the director and founder of Art on the Street says:
For someone that has NO idea what Art on the Street is, how would you describe it?
“Art on the Street is an event for the community, by the community. Twice a year we bring together over 100 fine artists and photographers to show and sell their work on Maidenhead High Street, which is sexy enough on it’s own, but we also throw in live music by local up-and-coming acts, street food, art and craft workshops and anything else that seems like a bit of fun at the time.”
Where and when is it?
The event can vary from year to year: sometimes there are events in June and December, sometimes just in December. In 2017 we’ve been lucky enough to have a summer event on the 17th June, and there is another event coming up on Saturday the 2nd of December, bookings for stalls are filling up quickly at the time of writing this so make sure to visit the website if you want to get involved.
This year’s event in June was a huge success with lots of artists exhibiting and a beautiful summers day too:
So how did your last event go?
“This one was a cracker! Stunning weather, lots and lots of visitors and plenty of happy people and kind supporters. Couldn’t ask for more. The vast majority of our expense lies in advertising, so we seem to have hit on a formula that brings us consistently high footfall of between 37 and 41,000. The more visitors we attract, the better it is for everyone, so a lot of effort has gone into our marketing plan. We also couldn’t do without the kindness and support we receive from our dear friends at the Maidenhead Advertiser and Enjoy Maidenhead.”
What kind of artist can get involved?
The whole idea is to give a helping hand to artists and photographers that may otherwise struggle to approach a gallery to get their work displayed and on sale. Pitch prices are just £35 for the day and include £5M of public liability insurance and the marketing of the event. The team works hard to do all of the background things that help drive footfall: artists just need to showcase their work (and themselves!) on the day. You can find out more about booking a stall on the website.
But Art is expensive isn’t it?
“The other lovely thing about Art on the Street is that it’s a social enterprise. For artists, exhibiting can be prohibitively expensive, so there are some quite brilliant experienced artists or new talent who have never shown their work. We felt that was a bloody terrible shame and decided to do something about it, so we subsidise artists to take part. This means that Steph and I don’t make a penny from the event and quite often have to fundraise to make up the deficit, but it’s so worth it when we see artists taking the plunge, selling their work and the way it makes them reach for the next step in their creative journey.”
Who should visit?
If you’re planning to visit the event then you should know that all ages are welcome and that there is art for everyone’s budget. I have a friend that makes a concerted effort to buy something from each one, even if just a small piece. Not only is she supporting local artists but she’s also building her bespoke art collection: what a great thing to talk to the kids about!
What would you say to someone thinking about going?
“There are lots of good reasons to come along. It’s really well known for having a great atmosphere and being on the High Street means it’s easily accessible to everyone, so even if going to a gallery isn’t something you generally do, you can see some superb artwork and have a chat to the artist on the way to pick up your groceries or drop your dry cleaning.”
What did I think?
I think it’s a great example of Maidenhead spirit in action. I’m blown away by the Art on the Street team working their socks off to pull together an event for the benefit of the community, the town, and local artists. It’s genius.
Sounds like lots of hard work.. why do you do it?
Because it’s the right thing to do. We obviously support artists and our footfall has an incredibly positive effect on the High Street retailers, but personally, it’s such a joy to give something back to a community I’ve lived and worked in all my life. I’ve seen GCSE students take part and show the most sensitive, mature and heart-wrenching work that is way beyond their years, and little children being brought along to experience the event as part of their Arts Award learning. People genuinely dance in the street to the live music and, possibly selfishly, making people happy and my daughter being proud that Mummy is the ‘Art on the Street Lady’ is the best buzz on earth
About my blog
I write this ‘Maidenhead Mum’ blog to share my experiences of life here in Berkshire and beyond. I fit blogging into my ‘spare time’ around my day job and family life, but I love to share the beautiful things that I find to see and do. For more posts like this, you might like to follow my Maidenhead Mum page on Facebook or on Instagram as they are the most frequently updated. If you subscribe using the box below you’ll get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox along with some behind the scenes photography tips on each email