It is rather reassuring to those of us who believe that the Arts should play an important role in the community, that we have a local pub landlord, Martin Donovan, who is prepared to go to some lengths to give space and time to an Art Club. The Dupont Art Club held an evening launch of its exhibition, hosted by Martin, on 17 November. The paintings will adorn the walls of the pub, The Duke of Wellington in Upper Gloucester Road, for the future delight of pub regulars and those actively seeking to view the exciting and colourful work of members from the Dupont Art Club.
The exhibition was opened and the assembled company was addressed by the Chair of the club, John Hird, and by Dr Robert Snell, Chairman of Brighton & Hove Arts Council, whose engaging speech amused the crowd with a pastiche of fresh literary and artistic references. Commencing with the promise, “Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long” as Henry VIII was reported to have said to each of his six wives, Dr Snell also extolled the virtues of the “pub” which he declared was uniquely British and much more than just a place to have a drink. This Great British Institution is a meeting place, a restaurant, a venue for receptions, team games, quizzes, and, above all, it is at the heart of the local community, as exemplified by the turn-out for the exhibition launch, arranged by Tina Stiles in close and effective collaboration with Martin.
Dr Snell drew his speech to a close with some merry quips, which included the story of a pub landlord outwitting Mr William Shakespeare when he attempted to buy a libation to soothe his throat and nerves and was told, “You’re Bard”. The landlord who berated a grossly inebriated John Steinbeck and pointed out that he was obviously subjected to the ‘wrath of grapes”. The landlord who offered to draw a pint for John Constable and was told by John, “Thank you kindly, to be sure. But I think I can draw it better myself”. What a lot of wags these landlords can be, and then our landlord followed Dr Snell’s speech by pointing out to him that he had left out Bar Mitzvahs from the list of community activities undertaken by the local pub. Martin welcomed the Club and expressed his admiration for the hard work and dedicated planning of Tina Stiles, who was responsible for the successful evening.
The cherry on top of the icing on the cake of the evening was a dramatic and exciting demonstration of dancing in the Irish discipline by Adrian Coomber, accompanied by stirring and moving Irish folk music. Adrian learnt his craft in two years and has been practising and refining it for nine years. Your editors were delighted with the expertise and professionalism of Adrian’s dynamic performance.
The Dupont Art Club
This well-established club meets 3 times a week at Ventnor Hall, Blatchington Road, Hove, where the facilities are good and suited to the activities of this vibrant group of artists. Whether you draw or paint, are a beginner or a veteran, you will be welcomed to the meetings. You are invited to attend and meet members on any of the sessions: Wed at 1.30pm; Thurs at 10am & 1.30pm. Membership fees are paid annually and there is a charge of £5 for each session with an extra £2 contribution if you use the life model. The first session is a trial and free. It is a non-profit-making organisation. See www.dupontartclub.org.uk. For more details call 01273-609746 or pop into The Duke of Wellington, see the work and pick up a registration form. However, the bar is straight ahead of you so before viewing the individual works you can soothe your throat and nerves and sip something refreshing as you fill in your form.