Great Sheffield Art Show previews at Octagon Centre at Sheffield University

The Great Sheffield Art Show previews today before its official opening tomorrow morning.

The show will feature around 700 amateur local artists exhibiting around 800 pieces, along with 25 traders who will set out their stalls in the Octagon Centre at the University of Sheffield for a 10am start.

Demonstrations by professional painters will also be featured.

Joe Scarborough, an internationally renowned artist from Pitsmoor, Sheffield, will open the show.

The show is being held for the first time since 2014, with restricted access to a car park leading to it being called off last year.

It is also being held for the first time in autumn, with organisers hoping Christmas shoppers will visit while in the city.

Panorama of the show

The show receives no official funding and relies on sponsors and donations to cover the £30,000 costs.

This year the sponsors are Investec and James Cropper plc.

Profits from the show are donated to an artistic charity, chosen by a committee of the show’s organisers after interviews.

The show is organised by a team of four headed by Michael Fearne.

Mr Fearne, who has been involved with organising the show for 17 years, said: “The purpose of the show is for amateur artists to have a professional arena in which to exhibit their work.”

“I think it’s part of the annual calendar of things for people not miss.”

He added that people still buy amateur art and the quality improves every year.


One of the displays
One of the displays

In 2004, the show sold £20,000 worth of pieces in 2 hours.

The first show was held in 1988 after Isabelle Blinker, an amateur artist from the city, sought a £5000 loan from the council to start it.

The council refused and with help from her husband, Mrs Blinker created her own business plan and founded the show.

Since then it has provided a platform for northern amateur art.

Our reporters were live from the show earlier: