Cathedral to be new summer setting for annual art showcase

January 30 2019
Cathedral to be new summer setting for annual art showcase

THIS year’s Wells Art Contemporary exhibition will be held at Wells Cathedral during the summer.

The exhibition of some of the world’s finest contemporary art will be displayed within the Cathedral’s cloisters, in the Camery Garden as well as positioned within the Cathedral itself.

Last year the open art competition attracted more entries than at any time since it began in 2012. There were almost 1,400 submissions from 26 countries and the resulting exhibition was held in The Bishop’s Palace during October.

“The Bishop’s Palace provided a wonderful venue, but for 2019 we wanted to explore something a little different,” said Paddy O’Hagan, chair of WAC.

“For centuries, cathedrals have been inextricably connected to art, be it stonemasonry, glass work, music or the architecture itself. We approached Dr John Davies, the Dean of Wells Cathedral, with the idea of holding the WAC exhibition in the Cathedral and I am delighted that our proposal was met with favourably. It sits perfectly within the Cathedral’s active policy for social and community engagement.”

The exhibition will take place from July 19 until August 11, during the summer period when Wells is at its busiest.

“Not only will it be a truly awe-inspiring setting for our selected works of art, but over 20,000 visitors to the Cathedral will also have the opportunity of experiencing the finest art, sound sculpture and installations from around the world,” said Paddy.

The submissions opening date is February 1. This year provides a remarkable opportunity for artists to reflect the Cathedral, its sacred history and its architecture in their work. In 2018, 11 of the 123 artists making the final selection were from Somerset and it’s hoped that there will be even more this year.

Applications must be made online via

To be selected for the exhibition every piece of work submitted will have been assessed by a panel of respected judges. There is a wide range of cash, exhibition and professional development prizes available.

“I’m not sure that when the idea of WAC was conceived seven years ago, it was ever imagined that the competition would have become so internationally renowned, and that it would culminate in an exhibition of shortlisted works held in Wells Cathedral. What an exciting outcome,” said Paddy.