Arts for arts’ sake - and all the community’s too

By Mark Munroe-Preston

We’re very lucky to have such a buoyant creative community in our local area, so it’s great that as we emerge out of strict lockdown restrictions, we can finally start appreciating the arts in person again.

Hot on the heels of the recent South-East Open Studios comes Mayfield’s Arts Fair, which, according to organiser Richard Field, unites a high calibre of artists, artisans and performers with the local High Weald community.

It takes place over the coming weekend (June 26-27) from 10am to 4pm at Mayfield Memorial Hall, where there will be the work of 20 artists on display, and also the opportunity to chat to most of them and buy their work.

“There will be over 50 spectacular pieces, many by gallery represented artists to view – and for sale,” explains Richard. 

These include fine art, paintings, sculptures, jewellery, ceramics and handcrafted gifts. The event is free and there will be food and refreshments available.

By Andrew Warner

Running since 2018, The Arts Fair has become a popular event for both local creatives and those further afield. So how did it come about and why?

“I had recently moved down from London and was looking to link up with local artists and the arts community,” says Richard.

“I was keen to put on a really high quality arts event which had an exhibition feel with minimal ‘clutter’ so people could really enjoy the art on show. I was overwhelmed by the response from the incredible artists who came out of the woodwork!

“What I thought would be 10 local people exhibiting together turned into an annual arts fair of at least 20 or so artists and artisans,” he laughs.

“The show now includes well-known painters and sculptors and international artists in order to really bring something special into the local rural community.”

To date there have only been two shows since 2018 due to last year’s Covid crisis cancelling the 2020 one, and interestingly the decision was taken to not move anything online.

“Life was a bit overwhelming at the time, and also partly because for me art is about the experience I was worried that wouldn’t be captured online,” states Richard.

Participating this year there will once again be a large percentage of locals but also artists from further afield around UK and abroad. This, Richard says, is in order ‘to ensure variety and quality is sustained’.

“Pieces on display will include oil paintings, prints, etchings, mixed media, metal sculptures, bronze sculptures, ceramic sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and decoupage.”

By Harvey Daniels

How would Richard describe the essence of The Arts Fair?

“I’d say it’s a contemporary art exhibition with quality and experience at the forefront of the curation – where art and sculpture will be showcased for the local community to enjoy.”

He goes on to say that he thinks visitors will enjoy ‘the holistic experience’ of the two-day show.

“I think people coming along to the event will definitely enjoy the holistic experience of appreciating the artwork and sculpture in stunning surroundings.

“Hopefully they will also like the awesome refreshments being organised by members of the local community!”

The Arts Fair is run by the Arts Portfolio CIC, a not-for-profit community interest company.

“It organises the annual arts fair event but also runs a programme of incredible performing arts events, including live music performances, dance performances, string quartets and figure drawing classes, with art workshops planned for 2022,” adds Richard.

“We want to make high-calibre work accessible to the local rural community as well as support emerging and performing artists around Sussex.

“The overarching aim is to promote and raise emotional wellbeing through celebrating the arts.”

For further information, visit 

By Yvonne Mills-Stanley


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