Posted 28th February 2010
Watts Contemporary Gallery
A week is a long time in the Hope project. During the week I learned that the wood used for the roof of the Gallery, being over a hundred years old and therefore slow grown, will be more resistant to the rain than if the wood was recently purchased and fast grown. This gives us some comfort as the collapse of the scaffolding has resulted, unfortunately, in some water ingress which means that we need to let the wood dry out before commencing the insulation and retiling.
In the past week I have also learned of the challenge to match the render which has turned a subtle shade of yellow grey. One of the important discoveries was that using the local sand greatly improves the colour match!
It was heartening to be reminded of the powerful symbolism of Watts's iconic portrait of Hope by the story appearing in the Mail on Sunday regarding the painting's influence on Barack Obama. A print of Hope, made in the print studio created by Mary Watts to the rear of the Gallery, hangs in my office, and I cling to its message at darker moments!
It has been immensely encouraging to continue to receive such heartening messages of support from people who have written to support our efforts to raise funds to cover these unforeseen costs as a result of our building going into administration. I quote from one recent letter: "There are all too few small galleries such as the Watts but these small local galleries can provide such a vital and important role in local life, with such wide-reaching consequences; something the Watts Gallery does extremely well with their learning and outreach programmes. It is in all our interests to nurture these out-of-town cultural oases which desperately need more help but with that help are capable of benefiting so many'"
We are so grateful to everyone for their continuing support and generosity and I hope desperately that I can reward all of our Friends, volunteers', donors and investors' patience by announcing that the Hope project has recommenced in the near future.