Swanage artists join new exhibition and raise money for charity

An idea born out of lockdown has led to an exhibition of work by more than 30 artists from Swanage and the wider Purbeck area at the Corn Exchange in Wareham which will raise money for charity.

Art4Action was inspired by the experience of the first lockdown last year and this is the organisation’s first Arts and Crafts exhibition.


The show features original paintings, fine art prints and greetings cards as well as locally made crafts on display and for sale and is on Saturday 7th August 2021 from 10 am to 4 pm.

Art exhibit
Gina Marshall

Morning Mist at Corfe Castle – a painting by Swanage artist Gina Marshall

“I wanted to do something”

Two charities Purbeck Youth and Community Foundation, and Frontline 19 – a service that gives psychological support to NHS and other key workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis- will benefit from 25 percent of all sales.

Malcolm Lewis, founder of Art4Action, said:

“It was during the first lockdown in April 2020. I felt that I wanted to do something in response to the oncoming pandemic, in particular to raise money for those charities on the frontline dealing with the effects of the virus.”

Malcom and Julie Lewis

Malcolm and Julie Lewis started Art4Action during the first lockdown

“A fun event”

One day he got an email from an online auction platform and he started wondering if he could organise a virtual auction of work by Purbeck artists and craftspeople.

He explained:

“I hoped it would not only give support to self-employed artists and local charities, but would also be a fun event that everyone could enjoy from the comfort of their homes. So, I contacted Purbeck Arts Weeks, who had just had to cancel their 2020 events, and they agreed to help support and promote the event.”

Seagul sculpture

Diana Girdwood’s Seagull sculpture

Online charity auction

Malcolm and Julie’s first online auctions sold £14,000 worth of art, raising more than £5,000 for the Dorset Coronavirus Community Appeal and the Routes to Roots homeless charity in Poole.

Presenting cheques

Presenting last year’s charity cheques

“We all had our fingers crossed”

Malcolm said:

“There were some complications due to the lockdown rules, especially that we could not use a professional auctioneer because both operators of the auction software had to be from the same family group.

“So, it was a big thanks to my family who stepped up and agreed to help engineer the auction! In fact, our son had to skip his home schooling for various training sessions on the software – not that it was something that he complained about at all!

“I worked as the auctioneer for the event, banging a toy plastic hammer on the desk simulating the sound of a gavel! It was all very ‘Heath Robinson’ and we all had our fingers crossed that it would all work out on the day!”

Now the art is being featured in a venue for the first time with the Corn Exchange in Wareham being chosen for the one-day exhibition.

Glass sculpture

Galiani Glass sculpture at the Wareham exhibiton

Youth charity

The Purbeck Youth and Community Centre is one of the charities that will be benefitting from the show.

The centre offers support for young people in the local community. It was formed in 2016 by volunteers. The staff support young people’s individual needs and when necessary, direct them to further help on a diverse range of issues.

Purbeck Youth logo

Purbeck Youth & Community Foundation is one of two chosen charities

“See – and buy!”

Its members have highlighted the club as somewhere they feel safe, where they can meet their friends but also make new ones, relax, enjoy themselves and take advantage of new opportunities.

The other charity to benefit is Frontline19, an independent UK nationwide service delivering psychological support to those involved treating patients during the Covid-19 crisis. The organisation aims to ensure the right help is given quickly and easily, confidentially and for free.

Malcom added:

“So, please help by coming along to our first exhibition at the Corn Exchange in Wareham to see – and buy! – some fantastic art produced by local Purbeck artists!”

Poster for art exhibition

The art show poster

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