Wells Art Contemporary 2020 Virtual Exhibition

Wells Art Contemporary 2020 Virtual Exhibition

Wells Art Contemporary 2020

WAC 2020 Virtual Exhibition

Autumn, 2020 – Coming to your screens, laptops, iPads and tablets!

From 1st October, visitors will be able to view the finest contemporary art in a unique virtual exhibition at wellsartcontemporary.co.uk/2020-wac-awards.

Now in its 9th year, Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) received a record-breaking number of entries from 50 different countries for its open visual art competition. Out of nearly 3,600 submissions, a shortlist of 128 pieces has been selected.

With the challenges presented by COVID-19, it was clear that a physical exhibition of the shortlisted work was not going to be feasible. But cancelling the event was never an option:

“The original aim of WAC was to support visual artists,” explains Paddy O’Hagan, Chair of WAC. “This assistance is needed now more than ever so we had to find a way to make it work.”

A substantial grant of £5,300 grant was secured from Arts Council England to produce a virtual exhibition. “Together with the amazing generosity of our sponsors, the grant has enabled us to present an exciting digital show, providing artists with an international audience.”

It is divided into four ‘rooms’: Figurative, Painting, Graphic and Moving & Still. With pieces from emerging and established artists priced from £200 to £25,000 there will be a piece for all budgets. There is also a Community Outreach room featuring work submitted by three local arts projects supported by WAC: Heads Up, Artbank and ILC (Imagine, Learn, Create).


Image: Ignacio Aguilar, ‘Diarra’

Eight of the successful artists are Somerset based, including celebrated sculptor Tom Waugh, with his carved Caen Limestone work, ‘Anonymous’. In a satisfying circle, Tom has worked on Wells Cathedral previously as a stone mason. He would have loved the opportunity to have exhibited in the Cathedral but says: “I admire the approach that WAC are taking by moving the exhibition online. I am just happy to have been shortlisted along with so many great artists.”

Although the physical event cannot be held in Wells Cathedral, a large screen in the South Transept will be showing the virtual exhibition. “The Cathedral was such an inspirational setting last year,” explains Paddy. “We felt it was important that the collaboration continued this year.”

The Dean of Wells, the Very Revd Dr John Davies, who provides the introduction on the virtual exhibition, agrees: “The Cathedral salutes the ingenuity of our WAC partners!  In the year of the virus, the WAC exhibition can’t be in the Cathedral.  So it is being offered virtually.  And many, many people will be able to join in.

“Next year the Cathedral looks forward with real anticipation to a physical WAC exhibition in the Cathedral once again. But for now, enjoy the art online!’


Watch the introduction to the  Virtual Exhibition below:


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As a consequence of the national lockdown all public worship, tours, concerts, and other events are suspended in Wells Cathedral until Wednesday 2nd December 2020 inclusive. The Café and Shop are closed, but the Cathedral remains open for individual prayer, lighting of candles and quiet reflection. All are welcome.