In the absence of a public gallery the North Norfolk Exhibition Project was established in 2000 by a group of Norfolk artists for the benefit of the general public and has since then staged an annual exhibition supported by workshops and events. The project became a registered charity in 2014 and is currently run by twelve trustees, both artists and non artists supported by enthusiastic volunteers.
Churches were found to offer a unique space for contemporary art resulting in the first ten years at St. Nicholas’, Salthouse, followed in 2011 by a move to St. Margaret’s of Antioch, Cley-next-the-Sea, and subsequently to All Saints, Wighton, for 2023.
To ensure a fresh and different experience, a new curator is invited each year to select a theme, create their ‘Call’ and select artists from the proposals received.
Non–membership; the project is open to any artist with a connection to Norfolk allowing them the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and create new work in response to the unique space made available. The exhibition also provides a vital opportunity to bring new work to a wider audience in their local environment.
To promote inclusivity, entry to the exhibition has always been free with thousands of visitors recorded annually, many of them people who might not visit a gallery but are given the opportunity to discover art almost by accident.
NNEP’s objective remains to bring contemporary art to an area where public art is not generally available: where tourism and obvious affluence hides rural poverty, where low academic achievement and scarce public transport could limit aspiration.
The artist led workshops have always been well supported, offering the opportunity to experiment, improve or develop new skills, the education project has left a legacy of children stimulated by working with an artist and coached in appreciation of art.
As with all charities we have to raise funds and greatly value statutory support along with grants from trusts and companies, individuals and donations. Raising funds has become increasingly difficult as focus moves away from ‘the arts’: finding new sources will be vital to the existence of the project. Please contact us if you have any suggestions you think might be viable.
The project depends on its committee members and volunteers to stage the exhibition. Working on a voluntary basis, new committee members (an annual commitment) and volunteers are always welcome: if you could assist during setting up in late June/early July please get in touch.