Sefton Open 2021


17 April – 6 June 2021

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

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

The Sefton Open is an opportunity for local artists to exhibit together and to showcase their work, whilst bringing joy to people in their homes. 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.

Artworks for sale

Selected artworks are available to purchase through The Atkinson and the Own Art scheme. All artworks are available to purchase framed and ready to hang, unless stated ‘unframed’. Please email for more information.

Own Art makes buying art easy and affordable by letting you spread the cost over 10 months with an interest-free loan. Start a collection of your own today from as little as £10 per month.

Click the thumbnails to see artworks in full

Palette Club

The 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 and craft works were exhibited for the first time and in 2001 video was also included. In 2020 the exhibition went digital and online for the very first time.

The Palette Club is excited by this, the 95th exhibition and to the continued partnership with The Atkinson.

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 in the 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.

Unfortunately owing to COVID restrictions the activities of The AFA have been suspended until our members feel ready to resume our activities. However, thanks to a WhatsApp online group they have been able to share the work done by many members during lockdown and look forward to an exhibition in the future to display all the brilliant work done.

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 and 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 of 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.


Kew Art Club

Kew Art Club are a small, friendly group of painters who came together through their love of painting, in particular painting on glaze which is more commonly known as china or porcelain painting. They use traditional pigments and mediums to produce original, kiln-fired art.

Out of Lockdown, Kew Art Club meet on the second Thursday of each month in the Church Hall from 10.30am to 3.30pm to chat, paint, get support and share skills. New members, both experienced and the uninitiated, are most welcome. Membership fees are reasonable and cover the cost of rent.


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.

Visits to exhibitions are also arranged so that members can widen their knowledge of art. Exhibitions of members’ paintings also offer 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.

Sefton Artists

Sefton Artists are a group of local artists who usually meet weekly at Lydiate Village Centre to share their passion for painting and drawing. The group are from all parts of Sefton and West Lancs. They share thoughts and regularly experiment with new ideas. Their aim is to produce very good quality paintings at affordable prices with something to appeal to everyone. They exhibit as often as possible, usually in Southport. Sefton Artists regularly participate in the Sefton Open and have recently completed a very successful exhibition on The Landing Gallery at The Atkinson.

2020 has been a difficult year for all art groups. Sefton Artists were able to keep sharing ideas and paintings with each other via email. They also completed an exhibition last summer at Wayfarers Arcade and hope to return to Wayfarers at the end of May. They are very pleased to be participating in the 2021 Sefton Open online exhibition.

South Sefton Artists

South Sefton Artists 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.

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 and 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).

Southport Contemporary Arts

The Southport Contemporary Arts (SCA) network is a membership organisation run by volunteer members to support the work of local artists and makers. They also encourage the general public in their local community to become creative.

The last 12 months have really thrown into focus the strength of the network and their members determination to use creativity as a meaningful way to keep in touch and to give direction and structure to the many days and weeks of Lockdown.

SCA are delighted to be taking part in this year’s Sefton Open exhibition and are feeling optimistic for the year ahead.

If you enjoy the work that SCA members have submitted to this exhibition, it may be of interest that SCA have their own Southport town centre gallery, ArtHouse, on Eastbank Street. They currently have work exhibited in ArtHouse from both their own network members and the wider creative community. Throughout the year they host a wide variety of exhibitions of both members work and non member individuals and groups/clubs and welcome all enquiries. There are also studios to let, above the Gallery, and 2 teaching studios, one of which is a Ceramic studio.

Full details of activities and opportunities for both practicing artists and those wishing to learn new skills can be found by visiting their website or via email.

Southport Watercolour Class

The aim of the Southport Watercolour Class 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 abstract art. Each student will bring a photo or an object for still life, based on that subject. Students also look at drawing and sketching as well as traditional and contemporary techniques in watercolour. Students are encouraged 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.