Our anniversary was at the start of October, but somewhat typically the actual date passed almost un-noticed by us. Anyway, it is now 10 years since we opened our second generation gallery here in Burnham Market.
Blowing our own trumpet it seems listening to our visitors and customers that many of them now think of us as a "must-see” when visiting North Norfolk - so we must be doing something right. Galleries come and go; one of our artists, sadly now passed on, once said his experience was that they had a 'shelf-life' of around 7 years, and told me how and why this happened. He then said, "of course, you're different" which comment I never quite got to the bottom of. Anyway we're still here, 15 years from when we originally founded Grapevine in Norwich in 2002, and it's wonderful to find more and more people appreciating our values and coming back year after year.
On a personal basis becoming part of the village - these things take time in Norfolk - gives me a lot of pleasure. The friendships formed both in the business community and from artists and customers are a privilege denied to many in today's fragmented and changing world. Our location right at the Holkham end of the village - Burnham Ulph rather than Burnham Westgate - has over the years prompted all kinds of comments. Burnham Market is actually an amalgam of smaller historic communities and inevitably there will always be a few who come to the village who probably never find us. Visitors in the gallery regularly comment that they had expected Burnham to be larger, and it then transpires that having arrived from the Holkham end they not unreasonably think our group of Church, pub and shops is it.
We didn't have a 10 year celebration exhibition as such but have - almost inadvertently - marked the anniversary by showing work by Gerard Stamp, who showed here for our opening exhibition in 2007, including now for the first time, oil paintings alongside some of his recent watercolours.
As recent visitors will hopefully have noticed, the paintwork on the front of the gallery has finally been re-painted and we’re very much looking forward to the next 10 years here in what is still one of the best bits of England!