THE Colchester Art Society is marking 70 years of artistic excellence with another glorious 'Open' exhibition at the Minories Gallery in Colchester.

Running until August 27 at the High Street gallery, the show is made-up of submitted works open to members and non-members selected by a special judging panel and as in previous years consists of pieces by well known names as well as some new artists.

That includes a wonderful pop art-inspired piece by Francesca Ucci and two fun sculptural pieces by David Piercy and Hilary Gallagher.

As always the beautiful north Essex surroundings have provided plenty of inspiration with two stand-out examples being Pam Dan's captivating reeds and the captivating patterned landscapes of Chris Wenlock.

A rather lovely addition to this year's show are a couple of looped videos focussing on the works of two former presidents Roderic Barrett and Ron Sims, and there's also a piece by current president, Simon Carter.

Formed in 1946, by a group of professional artists living in the area, the Society's first president, was the renowned First World War artist John Nash.

Another founder member, Cedric Morris, took over from Nash in 1979. Having moved to Suffolk, Morris and Arthur Lett Haines founded the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, which promoted radical approaches to the teaching of art and whose students included Lucian Freud and Maggi Hambling.

The Society, which currently has more than 200 members, most of whom are practising artists living in North-East Essex and Suffolk, holds two exhibitions per year and also organises talks, visits, and social events for members.

This year to mark their 70th anniversary a special anniversary medal designed by the sculptor, John Doubleday, was awarded to Wivenhoe's James Dodds for his outstanding contribution to the visual arts.