We are a group of friends, Glasgow-based, who are inspired by the work which Mary’s Meals does, feeding over 1,100,000 children worldwide in their place of education. We raise funds for Mary’s Meals by organising art exhibitions, concerts and craft fairs.
Since 2009 we have built and equipped four school kitchens in Malawi and we have fed a school in Liberia. In 2016 we hope to raise money to help combat the growing drought problem in Africa. We are generously supported by eminent Scottish artists, musicians, craftspeople, city venues and art galleries.
In 2008 Netta Ewing was on retreat at Craig Lodge in Dalmally. Mary’s Meals’ first fundraising officer, Margaret Lynch, approached Netta and Lorna Hutcheson to ask if they would like to help raise money for Mary’s Meals. Some time later Netta met Iain MacGregor on his fine art stand at the SECC. She told him all about the work done by Mary’s Meals and that she was searching for a venue in which to hold a fund-raising art exhibition. With no hesitation Iain said : “Have my gallery!” and so Artists for Mary’s Meals was born. The next two years saw successful exhibitions in McGregor Fine Art. Iain’s generosity knew no bounds: he gave over his entire gallery to us for a fortnight and waived his commission. Since Iain’s gallery was on the fifth floor of a building near Queen Street station, we needed to encourage passers by to come up and see the paintings, so Netta persuaded her musical friends to come and play within the exhibition: this resulted in music becoming an integral part of our yearly fundraising events.
In 2011 we hired the Banqueting Hall and the Satinwood Suite of Glasgow’s City Chambers for a craft fair and a magnificent concert. Carol Kidd, the famous Glasgow jazz singer, topped the bill in a grand variety concert, backed by Jon Ritchie’s Big Band Swing Sensation.
That year we were very fortunate in being offered the use of the restaurant in the House for an Art Lover in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park for our art exhibition, and the renowned broadcaster and folk singer, Jimmie MacGregor, joined Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and the Reverend Laurence Whitley in opening the exhibition. Also in 2011 film students from Stow College made a film of it all as a class project, and they have continued to do so every year since.
In 2012 the Saint Enoch Centre generously gave us a beautiful exhibition space, the National Trust for Scotland gave us the use of the the Servants’ Hall in its historic Pollok House for our craft fair, and the House for an Art Lover donated the use of their stunning Macintosh suite for three concerts in one day. Clarendon Quartet St EnochThe Morgan Lee Band and folk singer Sheila Hall offered a selection of Celtic music in the morning, our famous soloists and duettists gave a virtuosi recital in the afternoon, and the Lydia de Rosa Singers presented Songs Through the Ages in the evening.
In 2013 the prestigious Glasgow Art Club offered accommodation for our exhibition and the House for an Art Lover once agin generously gave us the Macintosh suite for a whole day, hosting our Virtuosi recital and the Lydia de Rosa Singers, with an Artisans’ Fair in the Dining Room.
Our group of supporting artists was growing all the time. Stunning works by renowned artists such as Tom Shanks, Charles Jamieson, Ian Elliot, Hazel Nagl, James Davis, Philip Raskin, Marion Drummond, Lin Pattullo, Jolomo and Mhairi Macgregor graced the walls of our exhibitions every year. One artist each year would donate a painting 100% for our Lucky Draw, and we would sell tickets for £5 . It was always a pleasure to see the joy on the winner’s face when we delivered their work of art! Well worth a fiver!
In 2014, the beautiful Charles Rennie Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross was the setting for our exhibition, craft fair, concerts and poetry reading. Mike Clayton, George Smith and the Richard Burton Jazz quintet enhanced the aesthetic experience with their top class Jazz and classical music. Guzstav Fenyo, pianist well known in the European concert halls, accompanied Sandie Bishop, Glasgow violinist, famous for her performances throughout Glasgow and in many outdoor venues as part of her “Hidden Places” project. Also appearing on our concert platform was the Morgan Lee Band with their fascinating repertoire of world music. Ann Murray presented a morning programme of poetry readings delivered by the members of the Hidden Garden Poetry Group, based at the Tramway Theatre. Our fine art exhibition was enhanced by a huge range of craftwork in the main hall.
We also enjoyed our day at the House for an Artlover, with the crafts once again on display, and a full house for our afternoon concert, “Virtuosi Recital” and again in the evening for the Lydia de Rosa Singers.
For the 2015 fundraising effort the elegant Breeze Gallery in Ingram Street kindly offered to accommodate our fine art exhibition. Our concerts and craft fair took place once more in the House for an Art Lover.
From 2016 onwards, we streamlined our fundraising events to one whole day per year at the House for an Art Lover, whose magnificent contribution makes our current efforts possible. Our art exhibition now consists of smaller works which can be displayed on table easels. Our visitors and concert-goers clearly approved of these changes!