Copyright © 2014 Isabel Blincow    E:

The Great Sheffield Art Show

The Great Sheffield Art Show

In the 1980's, Isabel was continually complaining that there was nowhere for amateur and semi-professional artists to display their work. She approached the Local Authority Arts Department, the Museums Department, and the Libraries Department for help in providing a suitable venue, but no one was interested unless they were talking about "Fine Art". This was obviously not satisfactory.

Towards the end of the 1980's, Isabel and her husband Graham decided that if things were to change, they must make them change. The concept of an Art Show for amateur and semi-professional artists in a prestigious venue, run by volunteers on a not for profit basis, was born. With the help of a £5,000 personal loan from the Bank, Sheffield University's Octagon was hired for five days in July, 1988, arrangements were made for the erection of Exhibition Stands and appropriate Lighting, and local artists and Art Groups were contacted and invited to submit work for consideration.

Great Sheffield Art Show

Volunteers to help were recruited, and in due course the 1st Great Sheffield Art Show was staged in July, 1988, showing nearly 1,400 selected pictures from around 400 local artists. Thankfully, with contributions from local sponsors, the revenue from ticket sales and commission on the sale of pictures, this first show returned a small surplus which was used to help finance the Show in future years.

The Octagon Centre, Sheffield

Isabel and Graham continued to organise the Show for the next 13 years on a non-profit basis, but in the year 2000 they decided that new blood was needed. Fortunately there was a good response from local artists and other interested people, and the Show has continued each year until the present under the careful management of a very dedicated team of volunteers led by Mike Fearne. The Great Sheffield Art Show has become a much appreciated annual event of which Sheffield is very proud. In 2001 Isabel was awarded the M.B.E. in recognition of her contribution, and both Isabel and Graham are very gratified to see previously amateur artists progressing to become full time professionals through first showing their work at the Show.

Great Sheffield Art Show Great Sheffield Art Show

Over the years, and with the new organisers, the Show has been nurtured, refined and improved. Communications with local artists and Art Groups continues, and new sponsors have been brought on board, and professional artists who wish to take one of the many peripheral stands at the Show are happy to be involved.

The public have shown their abiding interest with attendances in excess of 3,000 per year.

For more information,

visit the website at

‘The Great Sheffield Art Show’