7 great ways to get the most out of Fresh: Art Fair in Cheltenham

Guests attending the Fresh: Art Fair at Coombe Gallery.

Guest attending Fresh: Art Fair at Coombe Gallery - Credit: Stephanie O'Callaghan

If you’re looking to buy a perfect painting or sculpture, or just somewhere exciting and different to take the family, Cheltenham’s Fresh: Art Fair hits the spot. Co-founder Anthony Wardle, shares his advice on how you can make the most out of the fair from August 6-8.

1. Start with the Sculpture Park

You can’t miss it.  As you drive into the car park at Cheltenham Racecourse, you’ll see 60 amazing garden sculptures on the grassy bank on your left.  Leave the car and wander back through works of outdoor art in marble, stone and steel, iron, acrylic and wood, on your way to the main Fresh: Art Fair.  Talk to the sculptors and watch the intricate work of artist blacksmith Simon Bushell busy at his mobile forge. 

Check out freshartfair.net nearer the time for a list of sculptors. 

Artwork by Melanie Cormack-Hicks displayed at the Paragon Gallery in Cheltenham for Fresh: Art Fair at Cheltenham Racecourse

Artwork by Melanie Cormack-Hicks displayed at the Paragon Gallery in Cheltenham. - Credit: Melanie Cormack-Hicks

2. Choose your art carefully 

With 43 individual gallery stands showcasing work by 500 artists, there’ll be lots of work to suit your taste and budget. My advice would be to take a casual stroll around the exhibition and make a note of pieces that catch your eye, then go round again and narrow down the options. 

Take time to decide what you like about the art.  Talk to the gallery owner – they love to answer questions and know their artists well.  Many artists have gloriously eccentric backstories that make showing the work to your friends all the richer.  

3. Look out for the famous names 

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Fresh: Art Fair is unique in the range of art we show from exciting new talent to established professionals, and quite a lot of famous names.  You’ll find lots of pieces for a few hundred pounds, but also the works of Hockney, Banksy, Bridget Riley and even Picasso, Miro and Matisse, some of them for more than a few thousand pounds, all for sale and very worthwhile investments.

Laura Bofill's 'Immersion' artwork at the Agora Contemporary gallery, on show at Fresh: Art Fair at Cheltenham Racecourse

Laura Bofill's 'Immersion' at the Agora Contemporary gallery. - Credit: Laura Bofill - Agora Contemporary

4. Take in a talk or an artist demonstration  

Our working studio offers a great opportunity to engage with artists and ask them questions. We’ll be publishing a programme of demonstrations nearer the time. 

There’ll be two talks each day, again with an opportunity to ask questions.  History of art is a popular topic.

5. Fun for the family too 

Art is great for children of all ages and they’re very welcome to ask questions. Because the Fair takes place during school holidays, we have arranged for a couple of artists of a different sort. 

There’ll be Sally the celebrated face painter and Twistina the balloon artist. Everything they do will be free to our visitors... adults and children. There’ll also be our usual Art Treasure Trail to keep the kids interested throughout the show.  

Outdoor sculpture by Simon Probyn displayed for Fresh: Art Fair at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Outdoor sculpture by Simon Probyn. - Credit: Simon Probyn

6. There’ll be plenty of refreshments 

Enjoy a coffee, a glass of wine or lunch in the Istabraq Café or on the balcony overlooking the fair. Make a day of it, grab a bite to eat, enjoy the art and buy a painting.

7. Treat yourselves to the private view 

Come to the private viewing from 5.30pm to 9.00pm on Thursday 5th August, and you’ll get first pick of the art and free wine.  Silhouette artist Alison Russell will be working throughout the evening - she’s wonderful just to watch and you may be one of her lucky subjects. 

Private view tickets are £10 per person and are valid for admission throughout the weekend.   

Book tickets from only £6 at freshartfair.net, with free returns throughout the Fair.  Under 16s go free and Friday admissions are free for everyone.