<<Update 30 July 2015>>
Since my original blog in 2012, I’m delighted to say that Norwich has had some big wins on the art front. In 2014, the Sainsbury Centre hosted the wonderful Masters exhibition. Houghton Hall also showcased some of the finest classical pictures from the Hermitage art museum in St Petersburg. We’ve also seen successful cultural events like the Hostery Festival, Holt Festival and Voewood Festival.
In 2015, the Sainsbury Centre had a major show called Bacon and the Masters – and the Castle Museum hosted the only exhibition of Jeff Koons work in the UK this year. More importantly (although perhaps less widely noticed), Will Teather and Friends ran the first Art Fair East – which in many ways felt like the art fair I imagined three years ago. I hope it was enough of a success to return and grow.
As a result, I am expanding the focus of the @NorwichArtFair twitter account. Rather than concentrating exclusively on Art, I’m going to support the wider creative community – including Digital Creative and Business Innovation. Instead of thinking of Norwich Art Fair as an event – think of it as a statement: Norwich [thou] art fair.
<<UPDATE 6 March 2014>>
I wrote the original version of this post in July 2012. Plenty of you offered to support but (like me) no one had the time or resources to turn the idea into reality. (As you will see when you read the original below, I anticipated this.)
However, there are still masses of excellent cultural events in Norwich and Norfolk – and they are growing in scope and stature all the time. This post sparked blogs from Rosie Winn and others, which in turn helped unite local artists and art lovers on twitter and other social media platforms.
We still run the @NorwichArtFair twitter account. We hope you continue to support the ambition of building Norwich’s international reputation as a great place to experience wonderful art.
The original Norwich Art Fair idea from July 2012:
Written in haste (other stuff pressing)…
Thank you to @Rosie_Winn who posted this on her blog http://rosiewinnart.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/ideas-from-the-norwich-art-fair-meet-up/. It lists all the ideas (many and varied) for an international art fair in Norwich and Norfolk, which came up at our first tweetup (at @SirGarnetPub) last Thursday.
Thank you to everyone who came along and contributed their time and enthusiasm – particularly those who volunteered to help build, design and write a new Norwich Art Fair website. I really appreciate your support – particularly since there is no reward, save our gratitude.
It’s important to stress, these are early days. At the moment I’m just looking to see who might get behind this idea. Exploring ways we might mobilise forces in Norfolk to support what we already have (from the glorious productions of #NNFest to your local art gallery’s open day) and help build on it. Our ambition is to establish Norwich and Norfolk on the international art scene as a centre for creativity and talent.
You can join my list of interested tweeters (here https://twitter.com/HuwSayer/norwich-art-fair/members) simply by sending me a tweet asking to join #NorwichArtFair list.
You might who want to tell me this won’t, can’t, hasn’t or shouldn’t happen – but, quite frankly, I’m not interested in why nots. Instead I want to hear from people who want to help raise the profile of Norwich and Norfolk. If you think you are already doing this or something like it, then please let me know because I’d would love to support you.
Realising these ideas may be a dream. It might take years to attract enough sponsors and artists to stage a world class event. Even the shape of that event is not clear.
I hope it might be both high brow and inclusive. Drawing big crowds and big money but supporting local artists and encouraging more people to become involved in the arts too. But now the most important thing we can do is start the conversation.
At the very least, I hope we can build a network of people on social media who will support art events in Norwich and Norfolk – and share that support with the world. We need to convince people who love art and culture to #VisitNorwich and #VisitNorfolk.
Elsewhere, I have talked about the power of the Norfolk and Norwich Twitter Network (jokingly referred to as #NaNTwiNk). If that network supports the exciting cultural events going on in our community (from the smallest to the largest) it will benefit all who live and work in the region.
Thank you for your continued help and support.
@HuwSayer – July 2012