By Elaine Robertson
Every Rye Society or institution that gives coffee mornings, open gardens or garden parties, holds its collective breath about the weather, but after an unnerving early part of the week the Friends of Rye Art Gallery sighed in relief when 8 July turned out to be a beautiful day with the site of Mrs.Rae Festing’s garden looking at its best.
There were the usual stalls and tombola, and until 1.30 plenty of people arrived. Sadly, most of them disappeared in the afternoon, presumably lured by the Ladies Final at Wimbledon. Nevertheless the pleasing amount of £668.85 was raised, which justified all the efforts put into the day.
Where does the money go? Most people know that the artist Mary Stormont gave her own house to be an art gallery for Rye, but she also left money to establish a Trust to stimulate interest in art generally by lectures, exhibitions and formal instruction in artistic practice. The money she left for these purposes has shrunk with time, especially as insurance for the permanent collection of paintings left by Mrs. Stormont has trebled in recent decades. Enter Frag! This society, which is quite distinct from the Trustees, has supported the latter by undertaking responsibility for engaging and paying for regular lectures and providing fund raising events to cover costs such as re-framing of pictures and the creation of new postcards for sale in both galleries. The Frag Committee also aims to provide works of art for the gallery and has recently contributed a painting by Fred Cuming and two ceramic heads by Tony Bennett. So if you came to a talk or bought a filled roll at the Frag Garden Party you now know where the money goes.
“Rye’s Own” August 2006
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