In a few words: thrilling, gratifying, nerve-wracking, exciting and just a tad stressful!
I’m getting ready for the opening of my outdoors exhibition in Bristol, No Limits. This is going to be held on College Green in central Bristol throughout the month of August. It’s taken months – probably a couple of years in fact – to get to this point. I can’t quite believe we’re almost there now and I’m so grateful it actually really is happening. But I’m also in a bit of a panic as we race towards our opening on August 1st.
Goodness, it was surprisingly hard to find a venue in Bristol. This is very much a joint effort as I’ve been supported, encouraged and ultimately funded by and through the efforts of Karen Lloyd, manager of Active Ageing Bristol. Without her I’m sure I would have lost heart as we struggled to find the right place: we wanted somewhere central, somewhere free and somewhere accessible above all else and this ‘right place’ just didn’t seem to be on offer.
There’s a sub-text to the exhibition: No Limits doesn’t just showcase the activities and achievements of physically active elite and grassroots older sportsmen and women. We hope to encourage people seeing the images to think that they too can get more active as they get older, that it’s never too late to start and that they can see too all the social benefits to being active as well as the health ones. The images are, we believe, joyful as well as inspiring. We hope people will want to join the party, as it were, and find out more and we want to tell them how they can do so, locally in Bristol and further afield, both nationally and internationally.
When we discovered that a Bristol company called www.Wildscreen.co.uk had set up an exhibition outdoors last year on College Green, at the bottom of Park Street, using large, robust and environmentally friendly frames we realised this was the ideal venue. Park Street has a wonderfully high foot-fall, and College Green is right outside the Council offices and just set back from a pavement where there are several bus stops, so it couldn’t have been more perfect. Galleries can be intimidating to some people and we just needed to move our thoughts beyond the gallery walls and start some more blue-sky thinking – literally (hopefully!) and figuratively. Until then, we hadn’t even considered an outdoor venue!
As I write these words, with just over 3 weeks to go till the exhibition opens on August 1st, we’re heading towards the print deadline of July 15th. That means that all the art-work has to be ready and submitted to the printers by then. We’ve designed how the 12 boards we’re using are going to look in terms of the images on each of them and we’re fine-tuning the captions that need to go with them. We’ve been working on the ‘information board’, pictured, which has to give some information about me, Active Ageing Bristol and our funders. Word count and font size are all critical, not to mention what we actually say. There’s still lots to be done.
In short, there’s never enough time. We’re trying to set up some PR and stimulate some local – and indeed national – media interest, for which timing again is key. So these are exciting days and days where I certainly am very thankful that this exhibition in my home town and which I’ve wanted so much, is actually finally about to happen. At the same time, there’s also a rather substantial dose of excitement and nerves in the mix, if I’m honest!
On August 1st it will be up and beautiful, we hope, and you can come and see it and judge for yourselves. Let me know what you think.