The Society is a friendly group which welcomes artists of all levels of experience, from beginners to seasoned painters. The Society’s aim is to encourage interest in and practice of the visual arts, especially painting, but photography is excluded. An extensive programme includes evening demonstrations, day workshops, a major public Annual Exhibition in Bridport Arts Centre, other public exhibitions in Abbotsbury, the Town Hall in Bridport and the Salt House in West Bay, also occasional visits to regional and national exhibitions. A wide variety of media and techniques are covered including acrylics, oils, pastels, water colours, collage and mixed media. Further details are given below or click on the relevant button on the left.
Bridport Art Society was founded in 1956, originally as the Allington Art Club, with its first Annual Exhibition being held in 1957. The Society held its 50th Annual Exhibition and a special 50th anniversary dinner during 2007. Meetings were originally held in The Studio in Haydon Guest House in West Allington. More recently venues have included the United Reform Church Hall and the Friends’ Meeting House. Evening and afternoon meetings are now held in St. John Ambulance Hall in Rax Lane, just off Barrack Street, 2 minutes from the East St car park in Bridport. Membership in March 2015 comprised approximately 150 artists. Most members come from Bridport and West Bay and nearby villages but a number come from further afield, including Lyme Regis, Axminster, Charmouth, Ilminster, Crewkerne, Yeovil, Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland.
The membership year runs from April to March, with subscriptions due by 31 March. Subscription rates are reviewed and set annually. The subscription rate for 2016-17 is £14 for Members and £7 for Associate Members. The latter are either spouses/partners of members or former members who have left the area and who wish to retain an interest in the Society. Members may bring guests to evening meetings, who are charged £2 per meeting. Members receive a Membership Card and a Programme Card which lists the annual programme of evening meetings, as well as key dates of exhibitions and workshops. Membership of the Society entitles members to a 15% discount on art materials bought at Arts and Crafts in East St Bridport and 10% at Herrings in High West St Dorchester; just show your membership card. Note that fully paid-up membership of the Society is a pre-requisite for entering any of the Society’s exhibitions. To apply for membership you can download, save and print an application form by clicking here – Application Form – or request a form from either the Secretary or Treasurer (see Committee and Contact Details). Completed forms and payment should be returned to the Treasurer.
The Society holds various events during the year. These include a series of artists’ presentations and demonstrations held in the evenings in the St. John Ambulance Hall in Rax Lane in Bridport. A series of day workshops are held in Loders and Salwayash village halls, tutored by a professional artist of substantial local or national standing. The public Annual Exhibition is held around the last two weeks of July in Bridport Arts Centre, in which all members are invited to enter work. Two further exhibitions are held most years at the Salt House in West Bay during the holiday periods of Easter and Summer. In addition to these exhibitions the Society has participated for several years in the Bridport Open Studios weekend, held in August, in which members demonstrate their painting to visiting members of the public. Occasional visits to regional/national exhibitions also take place. For details of these events click on the appropriate button on the right.