Building on the success of last year’s inaugural exhibition held by the University of the Third Age (U3A), overwhelming popular demand has meant that an assortment of eclectic artwork will once again be on display at the Harlequin Centre.

Francis Smith, coordinator of the exhibiton, along with his advisory committee, are hopeful that the exhibition, open to all U3A members and their friends, will be as successful as that of last year, which was visited by more than 1,200 people and featured 45 artists exhibiting some 200 pieces, ranging from delicate watercolours through to bold acrylics and intense oils. Works were not limited to paint either, with print, pastel, pencil, mixed media and textile art all being used. Themes varied from anecdotal domestic scenes to abstract expressionism, with portraits also being frequently featured.

This year, variety is still apparent, with mediums such as photography, ceramics and sculpture dealing with subjects from fantasy to political comment.

However, aside from the exhibition providing an artistic platform, the social importance of the exhibition lies in its demonstration that the retired population should not be socially pigeonholed; they are a vigorous and necessary facet of artistic expression within the community, reflected in Barbara Woolner’s thoughts: “If it were not for the energy and commitment of Francis Smith, a practicing artist and printmaker, none of this would be possible. He runs a drop in studio every Tuesday morning at the Arts Resources Centre (ARC) at the Pump House, Local Board Road, Watford, and is an inspiration to us all.”

The exhibition runs until September 18 in the Upper Gallery of the Harlequin Shopping Centre, Watford