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Oko:Art to Exhibit Work of Local Artists in Guildford

Published on: 7 May, 2021
Updated on: 7 May, 2021

By Alice Fowler

For the twenty-first year, artists in Surrey are preparing to open their doors and welcome members of the public to the annual Surrey Artists Open Studios (SAOS). The popular event takes place from June 5-20 across the county, with 286 artists taking part.

As well as a chance to meet and talk to artists in their place of work, Open Studios gives visitors the chance to view demonstrations, buy artwork, enter a free prize draw and even get involved in creative workshops. Studios taking part are located throughout Surrey and on its borders.

Last year, despite Covid restrictions, £305,000 in sales were made – matching those from the previous year – even though numbers of visitors and artists were reduced.

OKO:Art Gallery in Onslow Village, Guildford, joins SAOS for the first time, featuring the work of eight talented local artists. Owner Tania Oko says: “We are thrilled to be opening our doors again for live art-viewing after being closed due to Covid-19.”

Becca Clegg’s Poppies and Grasses Cromer

Fellow artist Becca Clegg, well known for her colourful landscapes, whose studio is on the premises, says: “I am really looking forward to opening my studio and to seeing people face to face again to discuss my work. I have so missed meeting and talking to people. Getting feedback is so worthwhile – I can’t wait.”

Tania and Becca will be demonstrating their working methods – on vibrant abstract and impressionist landscapes respectively – at different times through the two weeks. The gallery will also host a “Meet the Artist” evening on June 10.

Whale Rider – Clare Nelson

Exhibiting with them will be local artist and designer David Dragon; photographers Jon McRae and Diana Uzun, sculptors Claire Nelson and Jan Hite, and glass-maker Joanna Lloyd.

Also taking part in SAOS is Guildford artist Julie Verity, who will be exhibiting with friend and fellow painter Wendy Harrison in Churt near Farnham. Julie says: “As a ‘new’ painter it was quite daunting to take part in the Open Studio event last year, for the first time. Making the decision to be involved again this June was easy. The studio has been a refuge during lockdown –providing absorbing activities for the mind (and body if you dance to favourite songs while painting!)

On Exmoor – Julie Verity

“Lockdown has been a time to remember favourite places, like Exmoor and Dungeness, and put images on to board or paper. The joy of Open Studios is meeting people who will share that memory with you.”

SAOS’s launch weekend takes place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 June, with some artists offering taster workshops using different material.

Oko:Art Gallery, interior

Artists will be opening in a safe way, with a range of safety measures, in line with government guidance, to keep both themselves and members of the public safe. These will include the use of hand sanitiser, face masks, well ventilated spaces, and social distancing measures.

Becca Clegg Cromer Grasses – Turquoise

Many artists have joined forces to form trails. The Guildford Trail will link OKO:Art Gallery (located just off the A3 by American Golf, and reachable on foot from High View or Manor Roads), with Julie Barham’s studio in Denzil Road, and others. Julie makes tableware & sculptural pieces, such as seedheads, using earthenware and stoneware. Painter and printmaker Caroline Jackman, and book artist and painter Sophie Artemis, also form part of the Guildford Trail.

“The past year has presented us all with many challenges, but we are hopeful visitors will be able to enjoy the breadth of the county’s artistic talent,” says Caitlin Heffernan, SAOS programme manager.

As Julie Verity adds: ‘If these pictures find new homes, the studio is ready to breathe life into new work, inspired by being out and about once more – hoorah.”

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test 2 Responses to Oko:Art to Exhibit Work of Local Artists in Guildford

  1. Arlette Carlot Reply

    May 8, 2021 at 8:24 am

    It would be nice to join you.

    • Becca Clegg Reply

      May 10, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Arlette, do you mean you’d like to visit the Open Studio? we are open lots of days and in the evening on 10 June 6 – 7 or 7.30 – 8.30, we can save you a ticket if you’d like one (limiting numbers due to Covid safety). We are studio 149 in the brochure. If you’d like a copy let us know. Becca and Tania

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