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The Annual Open Exhibition reached its 140th this year. It was earlier in the year than the last one, and so our faithful tribe of volunteers pulled out the stops to make it happen. The number of submissions from the Society membership was undiminished – a testament to our creativity. The compressed timescale resulted in two ‘casualties’; the inability to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Museums Service on the acceptance of sculpture, and the dearth of catalogues at the opening. The 2018 Open will be held later in the year (end of June to late September). We are using the extra time both in the run-up and in the run itself to negotiate and rectify both of these problems. Congratulations to Jen Hall and to Sarah Broome (the latter of the Museums Service) for a stunning hang, which excited the eye immediately upon entry into the Atrium, and proceeded to lead the visitor through the coherently themed rooms. The special feature exhibition this year was to show a selection of works from the Art Society Gift Collection. These 35 works were gifted by the Society to the safekeeping of the Museums Service in 2002. It was great to see prominent works by important past and present Members of the Society. on display.

At the very well attended Opening, the Mayor’s award was made to Derek Chambers for his charcoal portrait of Jack Stephenson. A fine welcoming speech was given given by our President Jude Lockie, and refreshments provided by Hilary McPherson. The faithful band of volunteers included Barry Marshall (busy once again with his screwdriver, and this time also with glue pot!), Peter McCarthy, Trish Cuthbert, Sue and Colin Slee, Chris Edmondson, Jan Watson and Andrew Casey. The Selection Panel comprised Peter McCarthy, Kate Felton, Margaret Wylie, Carole Jones and Sarah Broome.