Sefton Open 2020 – Digital Exhibition

Exhibition extended until 4 July 2020

The Sefton Open is an annual exhibition celebrating the creativity and artistic talent across the borough of Sefton. For the first time, The Atkinson is pleased to be showcasing this year’s Sefton Open in a digital exhibition.

The call for artists was open to all practitioners who live, work or were educated in Sefton. Artists were invited to submit one digital photograph of their artwork, with all practices welcomed, including ceramics, sculpture, painting, textiles and photography.

Stephen Whittle (Principal Manager, Museum, Gallery & Operations) said:
‘It’s great to see that people across Sefton are still creating such wonderful and thought-provoking artworks. Even though our Borough of Culture celebrations have been curtailed for now, the fantastic response we have had from people right across the borough demonstrates how important cultural activity still is in keeping us connected.’

The exhibition is supported by The Atkinson’s longstanding partner, Southport Palette Club, as well as many other local groups, each showcasing their skill and artistry.

Jemma Tynan (Exhibitions and Learning Officer) said:
‘It is very exciting to launch the Sefton Open Exhibition online and connect our community and the wider world with the wonderful talent of Sefton artists during this time.’

Selected artworks are available to purchase through The Atkinson and the Own Art Scheme. Please email for more information.

The Borough of Culture is awarded by Liverpool City Region to either Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens or Wirral on an annual basis. The initiative was introduced in 2018 to allow each borough to provide cultural programmes for local communities. In 2020 Sefton’s Borough of Culture programme focuses on storytelling, local history and the environment.

Sefton Open – Digital Exhibition

Please click the thumbnails to see artworks in full.

Bonus Gallery

Southport Palette Club

The Southport Palette Club was formed in 1921 by a group of artists, including Percy Lancaster and Philip Connard RA. Their sole intention was to promote an annual exhibition. The bond between The Atkinson and the Palette Club was formed at this time when H.P. Hugill, curator of the Gallery, became the first Chairman of the group.

During the early years the exhibition would display up to 180 works, and has continued to grow in size, stature and variety. In 1938 ceramic & craft works were exhibited for the first time and in 2001 video was also included. Now in 2020 we take the exhibition digital and online for the very first time.

We are excited by this, the 94th exhibition and to the continued partnership with The Atkinson.

John Pickles (1935-2020)

The Council Members and everyone associated with the Southport Palette Club were deeply saddened to hear of the death in January of John Pickles. He was a regular exhibitor with the Palette Club and since 1998 a highly valued member of the Palette Club Council.

John was a prominent architect in Liverpool. He was head architect for the original Royal Liverpool Hospital and led the restoration of the Lyceum, India Buildings and the Albert Dock, for which he was awarded the European Gold Medal.

On retirement he was able to focus fully on his passion for painting. A superb draughtsman and painter, John exhibited widely and his work was much sought after. He was a true gentleman and an excellent artist, he will be much missed.

Groups & Societies

The Association of Formby Artists

The Association of Formby Artists (AFA) was formed in 1964 by a local commercial artist/teacher Eric Gerrard along with 40 other Formby residents who all shared a passion for art. Adopting the motto ‘Alios Ad Felicitatem Adjuvte’ (Help Others to Enjoy), the group grew and after several changes of venue, now boasts over one hundred members who meet each Wednesday in the afternoon and evening at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Formby.

The AFA stage two members’ exhibitions a year and host several demonstrations throughout the year, which cover many differing mediums and styles. During the summertime, members are encouraged to meet outdoors for some ‘plein air’ painting in various locations around the area.

Facebook @FormbyArtClub

Coastal Creative

Coastal Creative consists of several tutorial, arts and crafts classes based along the Sefton coast. Classes cover a large and diverse range of skills, including watercolour, acrylic and mixed media painting as well as all aspects of textile art. The classes are mixed ability, from beginner to experienced, with students of all ages. As well as receiving expert professional tuition and guidance, students are able to share ideas and compare work in a relaxed, supportive and sociable environment.

Whilst some of the sessions will sometimes include a structured section to cover a new topic, the classes are informal, non-competitive, and fun. Students are encouraged to choose their own projects and are provided with individually tailored support and tuition to help them complete the work and develop their skills. There are also lots of opportunities to experiment with different media and learn new techniques.

As well as regular weekly classes, both daytime and evening, there are special one-off workshops throughout the year, such as machine embroidery, alcohol inks and eco-printing. All the groups in Coastal Creative combine their work together twice a year in local exhibitions, giving students the chance to showcase and offer their works for sale.

For more information please contact Nawal at

Kew Art Club

We are a small, friendly group of painters who have come together through our love of painting, in particular, painting on glaze, more commonly known as china or porcelain painting. We use traditional pigments and mediums to produce original, kiln-fired art.

We meet on the second Thursday of each month in St Francis of Assisi Church Hall from 10.30am – 3.30pm to chat, paint, get support and share our skills.

New members, both experienced and the uninitiated, would be most welcome. Membership fees are very reasonable and cover the cost of the rent.

Kew Art Club, St Francis of Assisi Church, 68 Folkestone Road, Kew, Southport, PR8 5PH

Moor Lane Art Group

The art group has 20 members who meet every Wednesday morning in Moor Lane Methodist Church Hall in Crosby.

We enjoy painting, drawing, and social interaction in a relaxed friendly environment. From time to time we invite artists to come in to provide us with workshops. We find this helps to motivate us and to improve our skills.

We have exhibited at Aintree Hospital, The Atkinson in Southport, and in Moor Lane Methodist Church Hall.

One Step On, Textile Artists

One Step On is an informal group, currently with eleven members. It was formed in 2001 by people who had completed their City and Guilds qualification in Creative Embroidery and were keen to continue meeting in order to expand and develop their skills. Our current membership includes people with City & Guilds qualifications in Design and Embroidery, textile tutors, textile graduates and award-winning embroiderers.

Key aims of the group are to promote textile art and to exhibit members’ work. We use and develop contemporary and traditional techniques, exploring a wide variety of media. Monthly meetings provide an opportunity to discuss and develop our work, occasionally bringing in an external tutor or, more often, running an in-house workshop. The different interpretations and variety of techniques produced by group members stimulates much discussion and support. As an exhibiting group there is a continuing impetus to explore and create new work.

Our current theme is ‘Earth Matters’. Sources for this work are very varied, some portraying life on this planet and others illustrating the threats, sometimes with recycled materials. In September 2019 Suzanne Riley, Artist, ran a workshop on the batik process for us. Our first piece was on tropical leaves, to which we all later added our own stitches and embellishments. They are displayed here.

If you would like information about joining the group, please email us at

Facebook @OneStepOn

Painting For Pleasure Art Group

We aim to provide a positive environment offering older people, especially those who are carers, lonely, isolated or in ill health the opportunity and encouragement to become involved in artistic and creative activities that stimulates minds and aids mobility. We promote good relationships, companionship & motivation.

The group has been meeting in Ainsdale for over 30 years. A tutor visits us every other week. We warmly welcome new members of all levels of ability to join our friendly group. We meet at St Johns Church Hall Liverpool Road Ainsdale on Wednesday afternoon 2pm-4pm.

Sefton Art Group

Sefton Art Group is one of the largest weekly practicing art groups in the North West. Its main aim is to offer art classes to all abilities, from beginners to those more advanced. Courses offered are structured to teach all the basics necessary for anyone wanting to draw and paint competently. We also arrange visits to exhibitions so that members can widen their knowledge of art. Also we put on exhibitions of members’ paintings and this offers an opportunity for further involvement in the group and allows members to gain confidence and experience. Prospective members are welcome to visit any of our classes, talk to members and see what’s on offer before deciding whether to join. Life drawing classes, working from the human figure, are also available.

This year the group is especially proud to include work by Julie Tree in the Sefton Open. Julie says:
‘I’ve been severely sight impaired all my life: I see colours and shapes at a short distance and limited details close-up or with a magnifier. Although I have always loved colour I had no idea until recently that I’d be able to create any meaningful/recognisable art. I particularly enjoy working with pastels and/or acrylics using contrasting colours.’

South Sefton Artists

The group was the brainchild of the then Crosby-based artists John Towell and Mike Ashton, who were boyhood friends. It began initially as a weekly life-drawing group in their studios above a hairdresser’s shop in Cooks Road, Crosby.

In the early days, both artists were a charismatic magnet for those in the local art community who wished to further their own skills. John, with the passion and talent that shines through his work and Mike for his friendly advice on technique, drawing on his excellent draughtsmanship. The enthusiasm engendered from Life-drawing sessions in those early days would often spill into the local bars that were springing up in Crosby Village during the early ‘nineties; bringing with it a sense of culture and vibrancy to the community not dissimilar to our understanding of that experienced in the street cafés of Paris during the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist period. Flamboyant life models such as Sue Lee, with her hats and stockings, and belly dancer ‘Fatima’, with her exotic costumes, also added spice to this liveliness.

Past and current members of note are the sculptor Terrence McDonald (Mother & Child sculpture, Liverpool Women’s Hospital); sculptor and painter Taylor Earnshaw who was an integral part of the fifties and sixties art scene in Liverpool. Also worthy of note is talented artist and sculptor Philip Garret, whose bust of the late Jack Ashley MP is on permanent display in Widnes Library (his home town).

For more information e-mail us at / Facebook @seftonsrtistsexhibitions / Twitter @seftonartists / Instagram @sefton_artists

Southport Contemporary Arts (SCA)

The SCA artists network is a membership organisation run by volunteer members to support the work of local artists and makers and to encourage the general public in our community to become creative.

We have a Southport town centre gallery, ArtHouse, on Eastbank Street, in which we host a wide variety of exhibitions of both members work and non member individuals and groups/clubs. We also have studios to let, above the Gallery, and 2 teaching studios, one of which is a Ceramic studio.

We hope you enjoy the range of work you see here and if you’d be interested in finding out more about how to be involved with SCA just go to our website or check out our social media sites. / Instagram @arthouse_southportFacebook @arthousesca

Southport Watercolour Class

The aim of the classes is to give students, beginners or the more advanced, confidence and skills in painting the subjects they enjoy. The classes are arranged around a different subject every week. These can include topics such as landscapes, portraiture, still life and we also look at abstract art. Each student will bring a photo or an object for still life, based on that subject. We also look at drawing, sketching as well as traditional and contemporary techniques in watercolour. I encourage students to look at other artists and visit exhibitions.

Classes are run in such a way that allows each student to develop at their own pace and in their own individual style using techniques which suit them and the chosen subject. It is also a very special environment and students are very supportive of each other.

Facebook @WatercolourClassesSoutrhport / Instagram @southportwatercolour