The Story of Art House
At one time, if you fancied going to see some art, you would have to take yourself off to the local museum or gallery. More recently, there has been a welcome trend to make art more accessible. Visit a country park, National Trust property or even a reservoir, and the chances are you may be offered a map of the local arts trail, with activities to keep the kids happy and maybe even a backpack and some crayons. In June, Art House Leicester offers a different take on the art trail. This trail takes you through city suburbs, with houses taking the place of galleries. You might not get a backpack, but this trail gives you a chance to see "extraordinary art in ordinary houses" and meet the artists who have made it.
Art House Leicester started in 2008, when Hannah Devine-Wright went round to her neighbour, Katarzyna Klein to buy a couple of her paintings for gifts. Amazed by the amount of work that Katarzyna had stashed away in boxes, she suggested that she should open her house and try to sell some. One thing led to another and the first Art House weekend took place with 3 houses and 8 local artists taking part. Something about the event struck a chord with the public and the annual event has gone from strength to strength.
The range and background of the artists taking part is also impressive. As well as full time professional artists, many of whom have had solo exhibitions, are represented by galleries across the country and have also sold work internationally, there are a number of participants who manage to fit their creative activities around alternative careers or who now pursue their creative talents in their retirement.
Each year the current organisers, Katarzyna Klein and Sue Ryan, curate the trail to showcase a mix of genres and mediums in each household, creating a trail of small pop-up galleries across Clarendon Park and Stoneygate to the south of Leicester city centre. Ask anyone who has been before and they will tell you it is a gem not to be missed.