New arts society to launch in Bradley Stoke

Free taster evening this Thursday (24th October) at BSCS

Poster advertising a new arts society in Bradley Stoke.

From Picasso to Banksy … and from Windsor Castle to the privies of Bristol and Bath … via intriguing forays into Islamic mosques and Scandinavian interior design … There’s no limit it seems to what you might learn about at an adventurous new hub for art appreciation in South Gloucestershire. These are just some of the subjects potentially on the agenda with the launch of the South Gloucestershire Decorative and Fine Arts Society in Bradley Stoke this week.

Its monthly meetings promise to surprise and enthral with a hugely diverse offering of talks by some of the country’s top experts in their field. So if you thought fine art was all about stuffy discussions on the Old Masters, think again. Among the topics being considered for future talks are ‘Art & Engineering’, ‘Children’s Books Through the Ages’, ‘Shoes In Art’ … and the rather more provocative ‘Tarts in Art’!

This new forum, based at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) in Fiddlers Wood Lane, is part of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies – or NADFAS for short. NADFAS is a charity dedicated to opening up the world of Arts through its national events, local societies and inspiring lectures.

An incredible 360 societies are part of its network throughout the UK and Europe and as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. The organisation has 90,000 members and the new South Gloucestershire society is confident that its launch night on Thursday 24th October will swell the numbers still further, with a free talk by Bristol historian and author Francis Greenacre on paintings and drawings of the city’s spectacular landscape, architecture and events two centuries ago. No city has a more complete record of its past appearance apparently and the quality of the images is described as outstanding.

“We’re aiming for a minimum of 150 members,” explains Sally Kitching, Chairman.

“There are more than 25,000 people in Bradley Stoke – it’s a cosmopolitan area, with very many different people here and there’s a need for something like this. There are also art enthusiasts across South Gloucestershire whom we believe will make a short trip to join us.”

Sally has been involved with NADFAS for more than 25 years and says the experience has enriched her life. “I know about things I never thought I would,” she enthuses. “It’s been hugely rewarding and I have met some lovely people. Sometimes you see a subject title and you think, ‘Whatever is that about?’ I remember going to a lecture called ‘England, Brick By Brick’ and it sounded most strange. But it was fascinating – it made you look at brick buildings with fresh eyes and how they’re made. It was amazing. I went to another talk on the paintings of Italian artist Caravaggio and it made me cry. It was just wonderful.”

NADFAS is dedicated to education and conservation and those who join could even find themselves taking part in fulfilling projects to help restore churches, museums, castles or stately homes to their former glory. The organisation arranges special interest educational visits and holidays and offers grant funding for community arts projects. Those behind the creation of the South Gloucestershire Decorative and Fine Arts Society hope that the evening meetings – on the third Thursday of each month – will attract art lovers of all ages, including those who might work during the day and are unable to attend the daytime lectures hosted by other arts societies locally.

A full year’s subscription for members will cost £40 but those attending the introductory meeting on 24th October can join for £20, to cover four meetings until next June.

Francis Greenacre, a former Curator of Fine Art at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, will begin his talk at 7.30pm and the doors open at 7pm. Refreshments will be available.

For more details contact Sally Kitching on 01454 774401 or email

This article originally appeared in the October edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to all homes in Bradley Stoke.

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