The Art Fund Prize Judges Visit
Preparing for the visit of the judges of The Art Fund Prize, which has nominated Watts Gallery on the long-list, put in to perspective some of the many achievements over the past five years, which have been delivered in large part through the dedication of so many people. The volunteers, who have gardened, cleaned, toured, welcomed, organized, informed and secured the Gallery, the Visitor Centre and the Grounds have all played such an important role. The response to the Hall of Fame exhibition, which demonstrates the quality of the Gallery environment and shows the vision of the Exhibition policy, has received such a warm response from so many. The Art for All Learning programme which really attracted the Judges’ attention has reached so many excluded groups including prisoners at HMP Send, HMP Bronzefield, HMP Coldingley, and young offenders, reformed drug users and homeless people. We just hope that the Judges will see the passion and the commitment of all those involved, particularly our immensely generous benefactors, and will see fit, from all of you who have kindly submitted some words on the Art Fund website, to nominate Watts Gallery for the short list!
In the past month the Gallery has also hosted a number of events, including the Rotary club, a party for a 100 people hosted by a gold patron of Watts Gallery and a hire function. It is excellent that the Gallery is beginning to be seen as a centre for hosting people and that looking at the collection, enjoying the temporary exhibitions as well as knowing the event is being held in a unique national gallery in the heart of a village, will attract a good turn out.
Now that spring is here, it is wonderful to have the gardening group of volunteers back in action, tending the individual beds and taking control of the fig. We hope that the students from the City&Guilds, London Art School will soon finish Clytie to adorn the sunken garden (well fixed) and that Marcus Cornish, the sculptor will soon deliver the heads of Mary Watts and Watts to adorn the two roundels in gable ends of the Gallery. This will be the final finish of a restoration which just this month was commended for a Civic Trust award. Thank you to everyone for their support and for nearly achieving the Gallery’s first year of opening since the restoration.