If you’re interested in original art and you’ve never heard of this annual event, then an exciting new experience is in store. Art House works with local artists and other generous hosts to open up their homes in the Clarendon Park and Stoneygate areas of Leicester to members of the public.

A niche fine art gallery, Ellerington Fine Art Gallery also takes part and this year will be curating a special exhibition on Saturday and Sunday entitled “Life and Death” to highlight one of the strands running through this year’s event. The other venues will be displaying art from 55 artists working in various media from 6pm on the evening of Friday 8th June and all day Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th June, 11am to 6pm. This year sees nine private houses opening their doors to the general public for this traditional early summer event that attracts hundreds of people from far and wide.

As part of the philosophy behind Art House, which seeks both to give new artists the opportunity to take part and also to keep the event fresh for the large numbers of regular followers, eleven new artists have been invited to show their work this year. In addition, two prize winners in Leicester’s “Open 28” exhibition, Maxine Greer and Alison Follard, are among this year’s artists.

From small beginnings in 2008 when just three houses opened their doors, the organisers are looking forward to another opportunity for the public to see “extraordinary art in ordinary houses”. Since every house is unique and different in style, the diverse environments demonstrate that there is always a space for an art object of some kind to enhance your living space.

Whether your particular passion is painting, ceramics, textiles, glass, jewellery or prints, there will be something to appeal to everyone interested in individual craftsmanship and originality. Many visitors also value the opportunity to chat to the artists about their work and ideas. The concept of Leicester’s art trail is to enable artists to show their work in the informal atmosphere of a domestic setting and to promote the idea that art is for everyone and can be enjoyed in its many diverse forms.

Tart House, on Holmfield Road, will once again be offering a welcome oasis on Saturday and Sunday, reviving weary art hunters with drinks and an array of wonderful homemade cakes, in tandem with the accompaniment of live entertainment by local musicians. Profits raised through the hard work and commitment of the Tart House hosts will go to Bone Cancer Research, MIND and the Leicester Hospital Charities Teenager Cancer Unit Fund.
Art House has always been keen to support various charities that have a resonance for the original founders of the event and, thanks mainly to the huge efforts on the part of the Tart House hosts, thousands of pounds have been raised over the years for cancer charities and MIND.

There have been strong links with such causes from the event’s inception that reflect some of the difficulties faced by the families of those involved. Alongside Art House we are therefore promoting The Festival of Life and Death (FoLaD), a major conference and concert event centred in Leicester on Saturday 8th September, but extending to any other location worldwide where people want to organise something similar. The special exhibition at Elllerington Fine Art Gallery will reflect various artists’ response to this theme. FoLaD will be a free event focusing on the promotion of wellness in the context of the alarming increase in rates of suicide and is the brainchild of musician Alan Chapman of the local band Rude Angel who’ve supported Art House with their music in the garden of Tart House for many years. Further information about FoLaD will be available at both Tart House and 12 Pendene Road. See http://festivaloflifeanddeath.org/ for more information.

For more details about Art House and the venues go to www.art-house.org.uk

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Chris is a Sparrow.

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