It’s being hailed as the most successful opening night ever for the Wrexham Open!

Hundreds of eager fans made their way to Undegun and Tŷ Pawb on Friday to see the unveiling of a wonderful collection of works, mostly by by local artists with a few from further afield!

The Wrexham Open is North East Wales’ biggest open art exhibition. Any artist, amateur or professional, is able to enter. Any medium of art is accepted, from film to painting, photography and sculpture.

Close to 300 works by a total of 180 different artists were entered this year and are now on display across both venues.

£3,000 worth of prizes were also awarded to artists in four categories on the night.


Two venues working together

Tŷ Pawb was the first destination for the evening.

Following some opening speeches from the Mayor of Wrexham (Cllr Andy Williams), Marja Bonada (Co-director of Undegun Arts) and Jo Marsh (Tŷ Pawb’s Creative Director), guests had a chance to wander the galleries and chat to some of the artists and staff involved with the exhibition.

Tŷ Pawb:

Then came an iconic moment – a lantern-lit walk to Undegun, the co-host venue for this year’s exhibition. Luckily, the wind and rain didn’t cause too much of a problem as these were LED lanterns! Each one was designed at a pop-up craft event at Tŷ Pawb.

Once the crowds had gathered in Undegun’s vast gallery space, the next part of the event began. The awarding of the prizes.

Four prizes were handed out in total. Entries were judged by Thomas Dukes, curator of Open Eye Gallery at Liverpool; Rabab Gazoul, founding co-director of Gentle/Radical, Cardiff; and Simon Job, winner of the 2017 Wrexham Open.

Here is the list of the winners with the venue where you can see their work:

Judges Prize – Lesley James – Opposing Views (Tŷ Pawb)

Socially Engaged Practice – Louise Short – Sunset Over Stanlow (Tŷ Pawb)

Lens-based Media Prize – Alan Whitfield – Marram Grass House (Undegun)

Young Person Prize – Gideon Vass (Undegun)

Huge congratulations to them all!

A fifth ‘People’s Prize’ award will also be given at the end of the exhibition. This is decided by a public vote, which anyone visiting the exhibition can take part in.


A “buzzing” atmosphere

With the prizes awarded, it was celebration time as the crowds enjoyed a party style atmosphere to end a wonderful night.

Marja Bonada, Co-Director at Undegun, said: “We were absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by the standard of the work in this year’s Wrexham Open, and also by the amazing turnout at the opening night.

“Undegun was packed with visitors, and the atmosphere was buzzing. It just goes to show how many creative people there are in the area, who deserve the chance to showcase their talents. We sincerely hope that people return to share their art with us, and enjoy the exhibitions we put on. The next one will be our Studio Holders Exhibition, which will be the first one of 2019.

“Huge thanks to all staff and volunteers at Undegun and Ty Pawb for working so hard to make it all such a huge success!”

An exhibition for all to enjoy

Jo Marsh, Creative Director at Tŷ Pawb, said: “We’ve been blown away by the wonderful support we’ve had tonight. The crowds just kept coming. We counted close to 300 people at Tŷ Pawb and there may well have been more who joined us at Undegun. It’s the most successful opening event we can recall for the Wrexham Open.

“It’s so important to make sure our exhibitions are accessible and enjoyable for everyone who visits. The Wrexham Open is a great showcase for the magnificent talent we have in the local area so it’s been brilliant for us to see so many new faces at both venues. We’d love to see as many people as possible coming to enjoy the show over the next couple of months.

“A huge amount of work goes into organising an exhibition on this scale and we are so delighted for the staff and volunteers at both venues. All the galleries look sensational.”

Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships Public Protection and Community Safety, Cllr Hugh Jones, said: “I’m delighted that that we’ve been able to put on such a hugely successful event to celebrate our local art scene.

“It’s remarkable to see such a range of styles and talent from artists of all ages and backgrounds in one exhibition. I think anyone visiting over the next few months will be hugely impressed. The quality of the works is outstanding across the board.

“Huge congratulations to the prize winners and to the staff and organisers at both venues for putting such an impressive show together.”

If you couldn’t make it here yourself, don’t worry, we captured it all on film for you:

Come and see for yourself!

The Wrexham Open is on at both Undegun and Tŷ Pawb until December 16 and is free to view so you’ve got plenty of time to come and enjoy these amazing works.

There will also be plenty of activities and events linked to the exhibition over the next couple of months.

The 2018 Wrexham Open Exhibition is hosted by Tŷ Pawb and Undegun, Wrexham, with the support of Wrexham County Borough Council, THIS Project, East Street Arts and the Arts Council of Wales.

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