The holding of a sculpture exhibition in the gardens was a success in terms of appreciation of it by the public and greatly enhanced visitor numbers. Financially a success for Spetchley. OSG made a small profit. But for members sales were disappointing compared to similar venues such as Greys Court.
Spetchley Park would like to repeat the event next year and would also welcome some sort of permanent exhibition in addition.
In broad terms visitor were double those for the same period last year. There were 2500 visitors. Although anecdotal it would seem that many visitors came because of the sculpture exhibition. The Gardens has a large number of Friends who were told of the event; OSG paid for banners to publicise it (cost £100) outside the site and elsewhere, and the local radio covered the exhibition.
Benefits to Spetchley
Income to Spetchley from admissions and plant sales was £17,600 compared to £8,900 for the same period in 2018. In addition Spetchley received £1,400 from sculpture sales commission.
Total sales was £9500. 34 artists exhibited 143 sculptures. With one exception pieces sold were under £1000 and most were under £500.
Taking account of entry fees and 5% commision OSG made £300 after expenses ( the bulk of which were the costs of stewarding).
Spetchley would very much like to repeat the exhibition next year – possibly for a longer period. If we want to.
They are also receptive to the idea of a permanent exhibition. This has not been discussed in detail but I attach some thoughts to this report.
A Permanent Exhibition at Spetchley
Rational and Purpose
A common feature of OSG exhibitions in places like Spetchley Gardens, for periods of 2/3/4 weeks, is that sales are dominated by sculptures priced at less than £500.
The larger pieces however add a lot to an exhibition. But for members with large pieces the effort of setting up and taking down 2/3 weeks later is a bit of a gamble.
One approach might be to exhibit large pieces for much longer periods, minimising set up and take down effort, and exposing the sculptures to a much larger potential market. If the venue acquires a reputation for such exposure the better.
The owner and the staff at Spetchley believe that sculpture enhances the gardens. They are enthusiastic about the idea of a permanent/semi permanent exhibition.
If the idea finds favour with OSG members the following points are for discussion
• OSG and Spetchley decide the sculptures to be exhibited
• Total number of sculptures to be no more than [say 30]
• The sculptures are outdoor and robust
• There is a commitment to leave the sculptures for a period of time, say 6 months.
• They are sited in positions agreed with Spetchley that will not interfere with routine gardening
• The labelling might be more expansive and need to be purpose made to withstand the weather
• All risks born by the artist
• Spetchley commission 15% and OSG 5%
• Inquiries and payments managed by Spetchley ticket office
• Start April 2020