Newsletter: Bellota Club - 'Taking the plunge' with Irish Art

Recently I was invited to the inaugural show of the 'Bellota Club' which took place in a packed Adams Showrooms in Blackrock, Dublin. The Bellota Club is a group of ten ladies, who have come together to essentially buy and enjoy art by 'living Irish artists'.

The show was the first exhibition of work purchased by the group. It featured the work of 10 different artists whose work was bought over the first two years of the clubs existence. The group were keen to have an event to celebrate coming together and enjoy all the art in one place at one time. The members of the group, friends and the artists themselves were invited along for the event.

    

Enjoying the evening in Adams were, on left, Bellota member Breege O’Reilly and friends, and on right, Bellota members Jenny Andreucetti and Patricia Boyd.

Having enjoyed a fantastic evening at the event I took the opportunity to talk to two of the founding members Patricia Boyd and Grace Smith on the highlights of their Bellota experience over the last couple of years.

Tell me a little bit about the Bellota Club ... Where did the idea come from & how does it work ..?

Patricia: The original idea actually came from a trip one of our members, Ann, made to New Zealand a couple of years ago. She had friends in NZ who were involved in something similar and was immediately drawn to it.

Essentially how it works is each member of the group contributes €50 a month to a central fund or kitty, and every two months the kitty is available to one member, on rotation, to go out and buy a piece, or two, of original art by a living Irish artist. So with 10 members in the group its actually a decent sum of money that is available every couple of months i.e. €1,000 to spend on a piece of art. 

The person who buys the piece hangs it in their home for two months and then it 'goes on tour' around the different members, spending 2 months in each house. So each member benefits from having the opportunity to hang or display (eg it could be sculpture) a new and interesting piece art in their house every couple of months. 

Grace: There is such great value around these days in galleries and at exhibitions that the idea could also work well with €25 a month put aside.

Patricia: The word 'Bellota' actually means 'acorn' in Spanish, which gives some insight into their confidence in what this may lead to ..! Positive thinking Niall ... You know what we mean.

Having said that, at the beginning we thought we would sell the pieces at the end, but to be honest everyone has grown quite attached to the piece they originally bought and want to hold onto them. 

Why did you join the group … what did you want from it … ?

Patricia: it was a combination of factors really. there was definitely the social dimension and the idea of learning about and building your knowledge and confidence about art and visiting galleries. Some of us used to be a bit hesitant about visiting galleries, nearly thinking you had to buy once you went in. 

I wanted to get involved in something where you would get something concrete that you could enjoy. It was also quite appealing to do something that would help to support artists, because it is tough out there. 

                             

 

Where did you see Nialls work for the first time …?

Grace: I had seen your work online but the first time I saw it in ‘real life’ was at your solo show in the Sol Gallery in Dawson St. It was my turn on the group to buy and I received an invitation to the opening night. 

Another feature of the group is that generally you bring a friend / another member of the group with you when visiting a gallery, exhibition or even the artists studio. So I invited Patricia along on the evening. 

It was a great night and there was such a great buzz in the room. 

I’ll always remember walking into the room that evening and being struck by the effusion of colour and light all around. I felt I was surrounded by and bathed in ‘life giving light’. I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘mediterranean’ and I was really drawn to the blues in your work. To me they evoked that ‘Californian blue’, that summer feeling, and mixed with the formalised presentation of the squares, the overall experience was definitely cheerful and uplifting.

When you received a new piece of art, on the rotation scheme, what was it like finding a place for it in your home ... ?

Grace: It was interesting … !!! When you are dealing with 10 different people and their respective tastes in art there will always be some that immediately you may not be that fond of. 

But I have to say it was always quite exciting getting or receiving the next piece of art and looking for the best place for it in your home. And I have to say every single piece grew on me … some maybe took a little longer than others!

What has been the highlight of the experience to date ..?

Grace & Patricia: Well without a doubt the evening in Adams in Blackrock was a fabulous evening. It was so good to share what we had been doing with our friends, showing the pieces we had bought, sharing our stories.  The artists themselves were also invited and a number of them made it on the night, and it felt good to be supporting the artistic community. 

Seeing all the pieces of art together in one place with so many friends and guests there, I think we all felt very proud of what we had done. 

 

Well many thanks Grace & Patricia for taking the time to talk to me. I really enjoyed that. 

Many thanks to the Bellota Club for buying one of my pieces and best wishes for the next chapter in your art adventure.

If anybody is interested in finding out more about the Bellota club, please drop me a line and I will connect you with Patricia or Grace.

 

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