Fill That Space – art gallery at Leigh Court

Maria Newman, Director of Fill That Space, fills us in on the launch of the temporary artwork gallery and the aim of the exhibition.

Maria Newman standign in the lounge at Leigh CourtThis guest post was contributed by Maria Newman, founder of Fill That Space.

It was the big night for Fill That Space. The Launch Exhibition. The first official event. I was a little nervous as not only was I presenting my new business to friends, family and business colleagues but I was also inviting nine talented artists to join me on this journey.

I’m a planner by nature, so I arrived at Leigh Court nice and early, 7:30am, but mainly because I was at a Business West breakfast meeting. I wanted to make sure that everything was going to be perfect and this would also give me plenty of opportunity to make adjustments in advance of the artists arriving to set up.

Having set up the blank canvas, I just needed to wait for the artists to arrive to set up their exhibits.

Fast forward to 7 o’clock and the artists were arriving ready to set up their exhibits. The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was so excited and nervous at the same time. How many people would turn up? How many artworks might get sold? Within minutes The Temporary Gallery was ready.

Guests started to arrive and the entrance hallway was starting to fill nicely. The only thing left for me to do was invite everyone into the Great Hall to officially welcome them to the launch of my business and open The Temporary Gallery.

With prosecco in hand, guests tentatively walked into the library to view the artwork on display and talk to the artists who had created them.

The room was buzzing and everything was going well. The whole point of The Temporary Gallery is for guests to get involved. Talk to the artists about their work and why they’ve created the pieces on display. It was fab to see so many people engrossed in conversation and the engagement with the artists was superb.

Before I knew it, it was 8 o’ clock, halfway through the evening, and it was time for the auction. I was stood on the platform not knowing what the level of interest might be. I had three specially commissioned artworks in my hands all of which had been created by Bristol artists. In addition, I was donating 20% of the sold price to CLIC Sargent, which added more pressure to ensure that a reasonable amount of money would be raised. The bidding started off slowly but quickly built pace. I’m pleased to say we raised over £100 for CLIC Sargent.

With the auction completed, I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening as well as catch up with the guests.

The aim of the launch exhibition was to test whether this type of format worked, ensure that all guests had an enjoyable evening and raise some money for charity. It did this and so much more. I left the event feeling tired but inspired and motivated for the rest of the journey ahead of me.