Artists First

Past Exhibitions

Peter Sutton, Trip to the National Portrait Gallery

Alternative Visions: Undiscovered Art from the South West We've made the audio guide to this fantastic exhibition that's currently on tour. You can see it next at Poole Museum 21 March – 6 May. One of our members, Peter Sutton, also has a painting in the exhibition inspired by our visit to National Portrait Gallery (see left).

New members' mono printing workshop.

Hear more about us and Artists First history As part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project we are sharing films and stories about us at events over the next few months. The next public event is at Glenside Hospital Museum, Bristol on Saturday 21 April 4.00-6.00pm. A chance to meet us and hear about our history and how we work.

Details and book free tickets

Eddy Hardy and Artists First, 2001

Celebrating our history Our archives have been donated to Bristol Archives, and we've catalogued all our past artwork that we have stored at the studio. We've also made new films about our history and how we work. We'll share all this on a new website, along with lots of archive images and films from June. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Left: One of many archive images, Eddy Hardy and Artists First, 2001

Totterdown Arts Trail

Front Room Arts Trail, Totterdown
19th & 20th November
We'll be exhibiting and selling our work at this amazing Bristol event. Find us in Holy Nativity Church, Wells Road where we'll have paintings and our ever-popular prints for sale.

The Clowns, by Carol Chilcott

Perceptions 2016: The art of citizenship
Cork, until 28 October 2016
We're delighted that 5 Artists First artists are part of this international exhibition of artists with disabilities. Art in Motion (AIM), another group of Bristol artists are also part of the exhibition.

Nick Selway at Arnos Vale

Arnos Vale Cemetery field trip, September 2016 We explored this amazing place and made lots of drawings. We used the restored Speilman Centre as a base and met Janine Marriott, the Learning Co-ordinator. A day like this is great for us. One of the best things about it is being outside, as a group, showing disabled people as artists and engaging with people through our art. We met cafe staff and other visitors: people really do like to see art being made. Some of us used the bus (we took on the challenge of a new bus route). Thanks to all the people who helped others get there. We'd love to go back.

Steve Canby painting a portrait of Tracey Fry

Artists First Celebrating 25 years
Past, Present and Future
Artists First has an amazing archive of artworks and we all have great stories to tell of how art has helped us and why we like working as a group.
We've begun work on sorting out our archive and recording our stories. We'll make films and photograph more of our work and add it all to a new website. We've also been making new art inspired by this history.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Joan Clews - Faces in a crowd

Artists First is expanding Earlier this year we ran workshops for new members. As a result we have lots of new members and the studio is very busy every week, bringing new ideas and ways of working to Artists First.
Thanks to Wills Charitable Trust for supporting this work.

Artists First exhibit in Southmead Hospital Artists First are thrilled and proud to be exhibiting over 30 paintings in the new Southmead Hospital building as part of the Fresh Arts programme to enhance NHS environments.

Ann Pugh by Peter Sutton

Ann Pugh In February 2016, Artists First were part of a celebration day for our dear friend and long term supporter, Ann Pugh. Ann died in February 2015. Ann became an Artist First trustee in 2005 but we knew her long before that. She became our Chair, she worked with us and supported us. Ann loved our art, she filmed us, she was important to every one of us, she was there for us. Ann was our friend. Being part of that day meant a lot to all of us. Seeing Ann's wonderful, sensitive and beautiful films, joining with so many friends and colleges and sharing stories and memories of Ann was fantastic, hundreds of people came.
Each one of us made new art to show and share for the day, including portraits of Ann, because the best way we have of remembering people is through our art. We've started experimenting, taking risks, working big, all the things Ann loved.

Ann helped us get the Heritage Lottery Fund money that means we can tell the story of Artists First's last 25 years and help us start the next and because of Ann we'll tell that story through portraiture, through art because that's who we are, Artists First.

Emily and Ruby

National Portrait Gallery visit In November 2015 along with award winning artist James Lake, photographer Kamina Walton, Ann's partner Frank and daughter Ruby, Artists First went to the National Portrait Gallery in London.
We went there because of Ann. This trip was Ann's idea, it was something we'd all talked about, something for all of us to go on, to have a great day, to be inspired, to have fun. Ever since then we have be making portraits of all kinds, often large scale, inspired by many of the people we have been remembering as part of the Past, Present, Future project. This was one of the best days Artists First have ever had and it was all thanks to the generous donations of family and friends made in memory of Ann Pugh. Thank you to everyone.

New members' mono printing workshop.

New members In March and April 2016 Artists First ran a series of four open workshops for potential new members. The first two workshops, on new ways of making portraits, were led by disabled artist James Lake, and the second two by coordinators, Louise and Andy on mono printing.
The workshops were designed by Artists First artists to enable the people taking part to feel part of the workshop no matter their skill level, the session included artists talking about the history of Artists First and what it means to be a member of the group. They also explained how a supported studio works, how to build up a portfolio and how you share your work through exhibitions and linking with the wider arts community, basically how you get to be seen as 'Artists First'. Thanks to Wills Charitable Trust for supporting these workshops.

Artists First exhibit in North Bristol Arts Trail, 30th November 2014 Artists First will exhibit paintings and prints on Sunday 30th Nov from 10 am to 5 pm at 23 Woodstock Rd, Redland, Bristol, BS6 7EL

Artists First at The Parlour Showrooms Tues 22nd to Sunday 27th Oct 2013 Artists First will exhibit new work and limited edition prints in The Small Room, Parlour Showrooms 31-31a College Green, Bristol BS1 5TB (at the bottom of Park Street).

The exhibition will be open from 12.30 pm to 5.30 pm each day from the 22nd to the 27th of October.

Artists First exhibit in North Bristol Arts Trail, November 2013 Artists First will exhibit paintings and prints on Saturday 23rd Nov from 10 am to 6 pm at 23 Woodstock Rd, Redland, Bristol, BS6 7EL

North Bristol Arts Trail leaflets will be available in October detailing artists and venues.

Outside In West at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton, 20th July to 29th Sept 2013 Five artists have work selected for Outside In West. Tina Kelly 'Old Lady With a Walking Stick', Nicholas Selway 'The Body', Liz Lane 'Brian with Bathing Trunks', Stephen Canby 'Artist and Easel' and Stacey Fish 'Brass and The King.'

The museum is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (last entry 4.30 pm) Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays. Entry to the museum and exhibition is free.
For further information please call 01823 255088, email, or visit The Museum of Somerset, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4AA.

Outside In, national exhibition at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, October 2012 February 2013 Two artists had work selected, Liz Lane 'Brian in Shorts' and Peter Sutton 'Penny, my ex girlfriend.'

The Breadhorse, Firebird Theatre at Bristol Old Vic, March 2013 Carol Chilcott worked as artist in residence with Firebird Theatre, her watercolour 'Breadhorse' was used on all publicity for the show and many of her drawings were projected on a large screen during the performance. A limited run of Carol's Breadhorse prints sold out!

Drawing trip to Cardiff Docks Sarah McGreevy, Joan Clews and Peter Sutton, on a drawing trip to Cardiff Docks.

Everywoman, Joan Clews

Working Together Two 10th Sept to 30th Nov 2010
Open daily 9am to 8pm

The Hip Space, Avon Orthopaedic Centre at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.
An exhibition of Artists First work curated by Fresh Arts for North Bristol NHS Trust.

Garden Shpaes 2, Claude Rimmer St Ives, The Arches, Kathy Stewart

PortentsFrom Sat 18th to Sun 26th of September, College Green in Bristol City Centre was transformed by Portents. A city of 'art tents' pitched to acknowledge the fundamental importance of sanctuary, security and diversity. Artists First contributed to four tent works, with images and words reflecting on Home, Histories and Hope.

"Home is about needing a place to do our art in. History is about some of us remembering our past and living in institutions like hospitals. Hope for us is when people come together, support each other and work together for the future."

The Nine Lessons of Caliban for Bristol Poetry Festival On Sunday the 19th Sept, Firebird Theatre performed poetry inspired by their work on the Tempest at The Arnolfini in Bristol. Readings were accompanied by cinema sized projections of Carole Chilcott's evocative line drawings of rehearsals. This performance was dedicated to the memory of our wonderful friend and Artists First artist Claude Rimmer.

Houses with People's Faces

Flux Arts Festival, Somerset Saturday 24th April to Saturday 5th June 2010.

Artists First will be exhibiting at The Brewhouse Gallery in Taunton alongside many other celebrated artists, including Jon Adams, Tony Heaton and James Lake. Flux Contemporary Arts and Disability Festival will include large scale sculpture, installations and paintings.

Gareth Chilcott meets Carol and Brian at Boundless opening

Boundless - Connecting Artists
4th to 28th November 2009
Grant Bradley Gallery, Bedminster Parade, Bristol, BS3 4AQ

Artists Brian Davis and Carol Chilcott meet Gareth Chilcott (probably no relation!) at The Grant Bradley Gallery.

After the success of Boundless at the Bankside Gallery, London in July 2008, a second Boundless exhibition was held in Bristol. Fourteen artists from Artists First exhibited 19 pieces of work alongside other UK artists. Boundless was opened by international rugby player Gareth Chilcott.
The exhibition was reviewed by Michael Prior in Bana's December 2009/January 2010 newsletter.

Artists First group show at Pallant House, Chichester.December 2009 - 4th January 2010.

Artists First's exhibition at the prestigious Pallant House Gallery, came down on Monday 4th January after a month long exhibition. We were all very pleased with the exhibition, which represented every artist and most of us managed to visit the exhibition before Christmas. We have had some great verbal feedback and we hope to feedback comments from visitors to Pallant House later, please watch this space.

Bringing People Together
An exhibition of Artists First's work,
supported by workshops at Lawrence Weston Community Farm.
Sat 27th June until Thurs 16th July 2009

The exhibition was a great success, over 200 people visited. Artists First ran 5 workshops with local schoolchildren from Bluebell Valley Nursery, Kingsweston School and Henbury School. Artists First sold 15 of the 24 pieces of work in the exhibition.

It was great to have an exhibition that friends and family could visit. It was great to sell our work because it tells us how much people like our art. We learnt a lot from the children. They were very focused and helped us to think about being an artist.

This work was supported by Bristol City Council, Quartet's Grassroots Fund and Lawrence Weston Community Farm.

Artists First at the Bankside Gallery in London
Monday 21st to Saturday 27th July 2008.
Fourteen paintings by Artists First members were selected for an exhibition called Boundless at the Bankside Gallery.
Seven pieces of work were also featured on The Guardian newspaper's website at
"It is thumbs up good, having our work in a gallery in London. It makes me very happy." Sarah McGreevy.

Artists First AGM

Artists First AGM and Exhibition at Brentry Methodist Church Hall, May 2008 Artist Peter Sutton presenting the Artists Comittee report.

Artists First AGM

Artist Brenda Cook cutting the cake to open the exhibition.

Artists First exhibition at The Wholebaked Cafe, Bristol, June and July 2008. Exhibiting artists: Kathy Stewart, Joan Clews, Tom Hodson, Roy Tanner, Brenda Cook, Nicholas Selway, Claude Rimmer and Sarah McGreevy.

Artists First exhibition at The Vassall Centre, Bristol, June 2008. Exhibiting artists: Tom Hodson, Tina Kelly, Liz Lane, Carol Chilcott, Claude Rimmer, Nicholas Selway, Peter Sutton and Joan Clews.

Artists First AGM

Art While You Wait Artists First exhibit in Willow Tree Surgery, Henbury as part of the Art While You Wait exhibition.
Exhibiting artists: Brenda Cook, Alan Marshall, Sarah McGreevy, Carol Chilcott and Joan Clews.

Space Between

On The Next Level - Space Between Touring exhibition, April 2006 to March 2007.
Tony Hart in front of Firebirds by Artists First.

Carol Chilcott

Artist Carol Chilcott making drawings during Firebird Theatre Company's rehearsals for Faustus 2006. Firebird are a company of disabled actors.