Dorset Art Weeks news and preview

The winning cover image by Guy Martin

The winning cover image by Guy Martin - Credit: Archant

With Dorset Art Weeks just three months away Helen Stiles previews some of the events on offer and reveals the quirky cover she helped to choose for the Open Studios brochure

Rusty hoe wins cover prize

A panel of judges (including myself), other sponsors of Dorset Art Weeks 2014 and several board members of Dorset Visual Arts, who organise the bi-annual event, gathered at Yalbury Cottage, the award-winning hotel and restaurant at Lower Bockhampton, to decide on the all important cover image for the Dorset Art Weeks 2014 Open Studios brochure.

Over a delicious dinner, which was hosted by Yarlbury Cottage owners Jamie and Ariane Jones, the judges fiercely debated over the shortlist of six which had been whittled down from 50. In the end it was an eye-catching sculpture by the eminent West Dorset artist Guy Martin, which won the day and the cover.

The image featured his neighbour’s discarded rusty garden hoe and a handful of teased-out sisal. “It was a real surprise to win,” says Guy, who is based near Drimpton and used to work with British abstract sculptor Anthony Caro. “I was having a run on making fun pieces last year, which was a departure for me because normally I am quite serious.”

Now the image of Guy’s playful creation will be reproduced on 50,000 DAW brochures which provide a guide for visitors during the 16 day event (24 May – 8 June), and also a directory for the work of the 1,000 Dorset artists and makers taking part.


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Freud and Caravaggio feature in DAW lecture series

ENO principal tenor John Hudson will launch a week long series of lectures at Sculpture by the Lake for DAW. Following John’s recital on 26 May, the Dorset-based journalist Kate Adie (27 May) gives a talk about her latest book Fighting on the Home Front.

On 28 May Lucien Freud’s daughter Annie will present six of her father’s paintings and use them as a means of debating his famous quote “What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.”

BBC Culture Show presenter and art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon will discuss Caravaggio on 29 May. And the week ends with former Art Review editor David Lee, who will give a lecture on ‘How the Art Market Works’, asking how paintings by unknown artists come to be worth $25million (30 May).

All talks start at 12 noon. Lectures are free with entry to the park (entry has been reduced £7.50 for the duration).

For more details visit

A Quick Draw first for the UK

The UK’s first ever Quick Draw fundraising event will feature at the launch of Dorset Art Weeks on 23 May. Hosted by headline sponsor Sculpture by the Lakes, at their beautiful riverside venue near Dorchester, the Quick Draw event features 15 panel-selected artists from the region who will have 90 minutes to create a new art work, in either 2D or 3D. Audiences will be able to watch as the artists create works around the gardens and lakes of the park. The completed works will then be auctioned off by Dukes Auctioneers with proceeds split between the artist and Dorset Visual Arts for the ongoing festival programme. A limited number of tickets are available to the public for this launch event and can be bought through the Sculpture by the Lakes website. Champagne and canapés, street food, picnic hampers from Home-Cooked Hampers, a jazz band, fire jugglers and stilt walkers, will all add to the festival atmosphere to mark the launch of DAW14.

For more details visit

What is Dorset Art Weeks?

Dorset Art Weeks is a 16-day open studios event organised by Dorset Visual Arts involving 1,000 artists at more than 300 venues across the entire county. It started in 1992 and is held every other year, attracting 25,000 visitors, boosting the county’s economy by £2m. It runs from 24 May – 8 June 2014. For more details visit