September at Watts - Heritage Open Days and Saving the Watts Studios
Preparing for the autumn brings final planning for the next season of exhibitions and events for November to February. We shall be opening the Russian Fairy Tale exhibition on Tuesday 18 November and there are a number of themed Russian events! This is inspired by the partnership between Watts Gallery Trust and Polenovo, an artists’ village on the banks of River Oka, two hours outside of Moscow. In early October, a second group of Watts Patrons is visiting Polenovo bringing this friendship closer together. We are extremely grateful to Kirsty Anson, who originally discovered this hidden link between Compton and Polenovo and has supported the development and celebration of the shared commitments to art for all and promoting an artist’s legacy.
We have just completed the annual Heritage Open Days which were attended by nearly 1000 people over the weekend. G F Watts came back to visit garbed in his red Venetian senator robe, as depicted in the Watts Self Portrait and visitors enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride between the Gallery and the Chapel. All the tours were a sell out which provides heartening evidence that the concept of an artists’ village offering a visit to a Chapel, a Gallery, an Old Pottery and the house and studio, does have wide appeal. We also heard from a number of local visitors who claimed that they had lived in the area for over 30 years but had never before visited! There is still work to be done!
Last week was encouraging from the perspective of raising funds for Saving the Watts Studios. The George John and Sheilah Livanos Charitable Trust generously provided a further grant to help us meet outstanding target of £680,000. We are immensely grateful for this kind encouragement which will provide in part the necessary match funding for unlocking an HLF grant.
We continue to be so grateful for all the support that Watts Gallery Trust receives from every donor. A donation in the donation box through to a major grant is the only way that we can continue to offer the far reaching learning programme for schools, young people, families and excluded groups such as prisoners, young offenders and reformed drug users. Watts Gallery Trust is an independent charity which has not guaranteed income. Goodwill from so many people in money and time is our lifeblood. Thank you.