2019 is SODA's 40th year since it was founded! To celebrate to further raise the charity’s national profile, many of our local groups held celebratory anniversary exhibitions and events. From Breckland in Norfolk to Frome in Somerset, and Ickenham in London in between, the events detailed below have showcased the work of local disabled artists and celebrate all that SODA has to offer.
Breckland Group’s Exhibition and Private Preview Evening
Breckland Group held a successful two day art exhibition in Attleborough Town Hall on the 30th and 31st of May in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the beginning of SODA. Attleborough’s newly elected Town Mayor, Tony Crouch, attended to support us. The exhibition was a celebration of our work, to show people what sort of projects we have been working on. Several paintings were sold and the art book sale and raffle were also successful in raising money for group funds. We were also lucky enough to recruit some new members.
Chester-le-street group's party
Chester-le-Street Group had a lovely party to celebrate SODA’s 40th anniversary. We had a fabulous cake, made by the daughter of a group member’s friend and she made a really good job with the cake and particularly the icing, having got the SODA logo from the website. Pictured cutting the cake, from left to right, are Dorothy, our longest serving member who joined the group when it first started in our local library; Beryl, our Chair; and Anne, Group Leader. A good time was had by all. Good food and good friends, what more do you want from an art group?!
Frome Group's People's choice awards
We marked the 40th anniversary of SODA by running a People’s Choice competition during our annual exhibition, which our local paper publicised for us. This may have resulted in even more visitors than before, as the stewards certainly noticed that people tended to spend longer looking at the display, perhaps with the incentive of winning the picture of their choice. There was certainly a large number of votes, resulting in a beautifully observed study of a coal tit, by long-standing member Sue, being declared the winner. To ensure no favouritism, a visitor from Suffolk was asked to draw the lucky recipient’s name from the People’s Choice votes. It gave us all great pleasure when a familiar name was read out: a former mayor and a good friend of SODA, whose mother had, until very recently, attended the group. Our friendly press photographer David was luckily available to record the presentation for the local paper.
Ickenham and uxbridge groups' party
We decided to have a shared party to celebrate 40 years since Sydney Nightingale started a SODA group. It was suggested that one of the rooms at Christ Church in Uxbridge might be suitable and it turned out to be just perfect. The Ickenham Group Leader and Treasurer together offered to do the huge job of catering and we had a lovely cake. They even had time to arrange a very good raffle. Another Ickenham Group member organised the seating arrangements, also putting a quiz on each table which got everyone chatting to each other. She played ABBA music in the background to put us in the party mood. Carol Cook, who knew Sydney Nightingale, and is still in touch with his daughter, came along to tell us about him.
Wells Group's exhibition and party
Wells held a special celebration on 23rd July, when, as it was holiday time, we were given the use of the two biggest rooms at the Somerset Skills and Learning Centre where we normally meet. In one room we had a large exhibition of our recent work, open to all, where we displayed our pictures and other artworks such as pottery and fabric. In the other room we had a good supply of food and drink, made or supplied by members, to which we invited old members and special guests, such as family, friends and tutors for afternoon tea. We also has a special cake, shown below, which was cut by Gill Kelly, former Wells Group Leader and now SODA Trustee.