Directors Blog: Heritage Lottery Fund and Autumn Exhibitions
We have had an exciting summer of offering a wider programme of activities for families and young people. Make workshops for under fives have been sold out and there has been a wonderful response from the participants and their parents. The Summer School for young people was a sell-out. The History of Art and Design course with a series of lectures give by the Curator, the Curatorial advisor, Professor Leonée Ormond, Watts Gallery Trustee and Dr Desna Greenhow, Chairman of the Arts and Crafts Society in Surrey currently has a waiting list. There have been positive reviews of the Frank Holl exhibition in the Observer, Mail on Sunday, the Independent and the Daily Telegraph. The exhibition is open for its last two months finishing on 3 November.
The Watts team was extremely busy finalizing its bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund – in our research and consultation we are delighted to have recruited the support of the Chairman of Compton Parish Council, Fiona Curtis, who has revealed some fascinating items in the Compton archive, including a photograph of Mary Watts, with the Compton Rifle Club, which we had never seen before. This will form part of the collection to be shown in the Compton Gallery, part of the three exhibitions spaces in the Watts Studios which will be opened to public, subject to successful fundraising, in late spring 2015. I was also delighted to hear that we have had contact with the family of Estcourt J Clack who purchased Limnerslease after the Second world war and converted it into three households. His sculpture Diana of the Treetops stands outside Green Park Station. From Clack’s descendants we have learned more about the house and how it was. It appears that Limnerslease has been the inspiration for five artists: G .F. Watts, Mary Seton Watts, E.F Clack, Alexander Creswell and presently, Glenn Sujo.
As we enter a busy autumn of exhibitions at the Lewis Elton Gallery in the University of Surrey, the Making of Mary, a major exhibition about Mary in Watts Gallery and an exhibition to celebrate another Mary, Mary Wondrausch in the Old Pottery Gallery, I continue to feel enormous gratitude for our donors’ support and the time given to us by volunteers. Just yesterday, I know that this support means so much to so many – a group of Street Level Arts members came to the Gallery for a pottery workshop. One participant commented “ we have been through so much individually and as a group, but when we come to Watts Gallery, that all falls away and we come together through art, and start to find a way of expressing our feelings which makes us feel better”. Art for All does change lives.