Director’s Welcome and Happy New Year

Back to News

Posted 30th December 2017

Alistair Burtenshaw
Director of Watts Gallery - Artists' Village

After five wonderful years as Director at Charleston, the Bloomsbury home of art and ideas, I am honoured to join Watts Gallery Trust as Director. My first few months have provided an opportunity for me to meet many of you, hear about your interest in our artists, their work and everything that happens here today to continue their Art for All ethos. I'd particularly like to thank you for your warm welcome.

During this time, I have enjoyed the opportunity to host our Artist's Studio Museums Network colloquium with studio museums staff from around Europe and welcome the British Art Network Seminar, Artists as Reformers, which saw curators from across the UK join us here in Compton. I have also had the privilege of welcoming supporters to a number of events to showcase our stunning exhibition, G F Watts: England's Michelangelo, and to attend three Patrons events – at Dulwich Picture Gallery, the V&A and at Pangolin Editions in Gloucestershire to see the bronze cast of Physical Energy being assembled. I am thrilled that from 19 November 2017 until 30 March 2018 the new bronze cast of Physical Energy will be exhibited in the Annenberg Courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts, London – a fitting conclusion to our celebrations to mark the bicentenary of G F Watts's birth in 1817.

In the meantime, here in Compton, our Surrey Residents' Day drew an astonishing number of visitors from across the county, most visiting for the first time. This followed an incredibly busy Half Term week and a stellar Museums at Night evening that saw over 350 visitors enjoying our cosmic theme. Just last month, our Victorian Christmas Weekend ushered in the season with Arts & Crafts festivities throughout the Artists' Village.

What this confirms is that since the opening of Watts Studios early last year, more and more visitors are discovering Watts Gallery – Artists' Village and returning, or telling their friends and family about us. There couldn't be a more fitting tribute to the work of Perdita Hunt, my predecessor, and staff, Friends, supporters and volunteers alike and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for achieving such a lasting legacy here in Compton.

I very much look forward to working with you all over the coming years and to continuing our Art for All legacy with the restoration of Watts Chapel, extended opening up of Limnerslease in the coming years and the extension of our transformational learning and education programmes and stimulating exhibitions and events. Your support is vital to continuing G F and Mary Watts's vision.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2018.

With warm best wishes,