AYLESBURY’S Off The Wall art show has proved a huge success, attracting more than 80 visitors a day and selling £6,500 of art in its opening week.
The exhibition continues until Saturday in the Raison Room and is described as a ‘fitting tribute’ to Sir Timothy Raison, the town’s former MP who raised £500,000 to build the gallery at the Bucks County Museum.
The Off the Wall exhibition takes place every other year, and all the art can be taken away on the day of purchase.
Chairman of the Friends and patrons of the museum, Kate Eckett, said: “We have a huge variety from ceramics, to sculpture, to paintings and even glass works, and there is a huge price range which is really good.”
Items on sale vary from a £12 sugar bowl by North Marston Pottery’s Marc Fraser to a £2,500 picture of a horse by photographer Tim Flach.
Sir Timothy Raison served as Aylesbury MP from 1970 until 1992, and died earlier this month on his 82nd birthday.
Sarah Gray, curator of the museum, says in 1992 he ‘spotted an opportunity for a grand regional art room to be put in’ as part of a planned £3.5 million upgrade that was also taking place at the site.
Along with Lord Carrington and Elliott Viney, Sir Timothy started a fundraising appeal to fill in the courtyard area of the museum’s grammar school buildings and build on it.
Ms Gray said: “He raised the money by going to other charitable foundations, an auction, appeals to local businesses and the public.
“He brought everything that he could together.
“All of the money to pay for it [was] from private sources.”
Sir Timothy also established the friends and patrons of the museum which now has 82 patrons and 280 friends.
The museum currently attracts 100,000 visitors a year .
Because of the high standards of the gallery, it is able to borrow works from London’s Tate Modern or The Ashmolean in Oxford.
Ms Gray adds: “The point about Sir Timothy’s contribution, it was an ambitious vision to bring the best nationally here.”
Ms Eckett, said: “I think he would be very proud because his vision has come true.
“It is a great space, and it is well used.”
The Off The Wall exhibition first took place in 2000.
Most of the work on show is from Bucks residents, or those living in neighbouring counties.
A proportion of the proceeds from any sales goes to the artists and the rest stays with the museum.
In 2009 the exhibition raised £4,000 for the museum.
Ms Eckett, said: “We are hoping to beat that this year.
“We had more than 250 people at the opening on Saturday, November 12.
“It was a really buzzing atmosphere.
“It was nice for people to meet the artists and talk about their work with them.”