The Verandah Gallery was ‘born’ in 1992 when Anna Fleming decided to have an Art Exhibition on her verandah to help raise funds for her neighbours, The Emerald Hill Children’s Home and, more recently, the Emerald Hill School for the Deaf which is situated on the same hill as the Children’s Home. This highly popular event was held annually at the end of July. Then, in 2005, with the ever-increasing number of artists wishing to exhibit their work at Verandah Gallery, a second lower key fundraising event called Paintings & Pimms! took place in November each year. This was more of an art sale of unframed portfolio work set out in a marquee and open to all artists.
Having celebrated Verandah Gallery’s 25th Anniversary in 2016, Anna decided to change the format and date of the exhibition in 2017. This was a combination of the two previous events – a marquee full of unframed portfolio work and a garden and verandah bedecked with paintings on easels. The event was called ‘Art in Spring’ and was held at the beginning of September – one of Zimbabwe’s most colourful months with so many shrubs and flowers in bloom – Bougainvilleas, Petunias, Amaryllis Lilies etc and the added bonus of the Jacaranda trees just coming into flower. What a happy and festive day it was! The money is raised from a 25% commission on all painting sales, along with gate entrance money.
Not only have these events raised much needed funds for the Home and School over the years but they have also contributed greatly to a wider public awareness of many of Zimbabwe’s talented artists who also benefit from the sale of their work.
Whilst The Verandah Gallery is not a formal gallery for the rest of the year, Anna keeps a small range of unframed ‘portfolio’ paintings on her verandah as these are often in demand with both visitors and Zimbabweans. However, as it is also her home, visiting is by appointment only!
It was through the Exhibitions that, in 1998, the idea of publishing ranges of Cards and Calendars arose. These feature the work of many of the above mentioned Zimbabwean artists and are published under the name of The Verandah Gallery. Other products have been introduced over the years including wrapping paper designs, with matching tags, a Birthday Calendar; two ranges of Postcards, Fridge Magnets and Tea Towels.