The Arts Society Pantiles start their new series of specialist lectures next Thursday with a talk on the work of sculptor Antony Gormley. Here, the group’s Chairman, Graham Archer, tells Eileen Leahy about the history of this artistic collective and the importance of discovering and discussing the work of international artists locally
In 1991, a small group of people in Tunbridge Wells formed a society which organised evening talks about the arts. Originally called The Pantiles Decorative & Fine Arts Society – or PADFAS for short – they initially met at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School every month and enjoyed talks and trips on a variety of creative subjects.
In May this year, however, the creative collective rebranded as The Arts Society Pantiles and now meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at Holmewood House School, Langton Green.
Yet despite its change of name and location, the society (a regional branch of the national Arts Society), has never lost sight of its original aim: To provide its members and any potential new ones with a raft of interesting talks by experts from all over the UK, and sometimes further afield. Visits to places of artistic, musical or historic interest are also offered to members in order to enhance their interest and passion for artistic expression.
“Current members of the newly named Arts Society Pantiles see the rebranding as something of a creative challenge,” reveals its Chairman, Graham Archer. “We have responded by planning an interesting and diversified programme of activities for the year ahead.
“To enable others with a keen interest in the arts to learn about our future plans, we are inviting visitors to join us for an open evening on Thursday September 28 at 7.30pm in the Jubilee Theatre, Holmewood House School, Langton Green.
“Admission will be without charge, and those attending will be able to listen to a fully illustrated talk by national Arts Society lecturer Rosalind Whyte.”
The subject, adds Graham, will be about Antony Gormley, ‘the sculptor of the iconic Angel of the North and of many figures in other cities’.
“At the end of the evening, tea and coffee will be served and guests will have the opportunity to learn of forthcoming talks on subjects as diverse as Foreign Artists in Britain, Charles Dickens, Wilfred Owen’s Poetry, and the Art and Music of World War One, as well as lectures on Dale Chihuly, the world’s foremost glass sculptor, and the well-known Giles Cartoons,” he continues, hoping this extensive programme with both national and international elements will appeal to a wide range of local people.
If you decide to become a member of the society, then there is even more on offer aside from the monthly expert lecture.
“In addition to the evening lectures at Holmewood House, you can also enjoy a programme of visits to places of artistic and historic interest and other crafting and musical activities, all of which are advertised in our Arts Society quarterly magazine,” says Graham.
The society is also hoping to collaborate with more schools in the area. They currently have one programme running at Broomhill Bank School which will culminate in a future exhibition at Trinity Arts Centre.
If you are interested in discovering more about The Arts Society Pantiles, then you can join them next Thursday for the talk on Antony Gormley by Rosalind Whyte or take a look at their website www.pantilesdfas.org.uk
If you decide to join, yearly membership costs £45, or you can pay £7 for each individual lecture.