Whenever I visit Soller I think about moving there. It has a unique character which sets it apart from the rest of Mallorca, whenever you emerge from the tunnel that passes under The Coll, into the Soller Valley I feel as if I have travelled to another country. Sharon MacLaren nods as I wax lyrical about her chosen home. We are sitting in her restored townhouse, a few steps away from Calle Luna in the centre of the town, but you wouldn’t know it as it’s so peaceful. Rudi, her very cute Spaniel, is keen to be part of the conversation and sits panting on the sofa, awaiting pats on the head. Outside the front door Sharon’s street is decorated with bay leaves and white streamers in preparation for a street fiesta.

Scots-born Sharon and her husband started to visit Mallorca many years ago, before buying their home. She made the move to live full time in Mallorca, leaving behind a successful career in fashion in London and instead began to develop her skills as a painter. How did she get into art? “I did a course, it was very challenging at the beginning, but I have learned, and continue to learn, a lot.” Sharon tends to use oils on canvas and her subjects range from still lives to landscapes to portraits. But this period of just focusing on herself was coming to a close as through a chat with one of her neighbours about how or where she might source local art that Sharon realised that there was a need for representation for artists on the island. “I thought that I could just create my own website which could be a directory of artists working on the island, and so “Artists of Mallorca” was born” The concept is that the website www.artistsofmallorca.com is a directory for everything art in Mallorca, all styles and types of art are welcomed.

The site began in 2020 and has grown to feature well over a hundred artists. The next obvious step to Sharon was to organise an exhibition and art prize which she did this summer. How did it go? “It was a lot of work, and I learned a lot.” Tell me about the day, how did it go? “We held the event in Can Prunera which was wonderful, they were so helpful! We set up the display panels just in time for the artists to arrive and present their works. Everything was going to plan, and then Marti from Can Prunera came to give me the news that IB3 had arrived and wanted to film the final. We had no idea they were coming, so everyone was very excited, if a little nervous.

“The judges, Natalia Spitale, Miguel Angel Delgado and PetraEveline Dahmen, arrived at 11am to see the works ‘live’ for the first time. The judges are all artists in their own right, and both Miguel and Natalia have Tallers where they teach art. As expected, all of the works looked better than they had in the photos, so their job had not been made any easier! Once they had made their decision, they were sworn to secrecy until the announcement at 1pm. I didn’t know who the winner was until then. The exhibition opened at 12.00, and I had been slightly concerned that we wouldn’t get as many visitors travelling to the 3rd floor of Can Prunera - I needn’t have worried, as around 150 people came to see the final.”

So, who was the winner? “Miguel Angel Bernat Busquets for his fabulous painting ‘Tramuntana’ He is an artist from Soller, with a gallery on Calle Luna, a very popular winner, his painting really stood out.”

What are the plans for the 2023 Art Prize? “I would like to get some sponsors to help with the costs, I feel that there is a lot we can do on the island to support local artists, I am hopeful that businesses will see the opportunity to get involved with it now that we have presented a very successful first edition.”
If you are a business interested in knowing about how to support the next Art Prize, or if you are an artist working on the island, and you’d like to have your work displayed on the site, contact sharon@artistsofmallorca.com to be included.