Posted 25th February 2018
Watts Contemporary Gallery
Director's Round Up
February has passed in a flurry of activity here at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. Half Term week saw record visitor numbers due to a combination of the final days of our Helen Allingham and Diana Croft exhibitions. The juxtaposition of the work of two such talented artists, both inspired by the landscape of the Surrey Hills but separated by several generations, was poignant. Equally moving was the site of so many children taking creative inspiration from our site with over 1,054 learning participations during the week.
Our vision for G F Watts's sculptural masterpiece Physical Energy to come to Surrey as a symbol of the cultural heritage of our county and its creativity and dynamism has also taken a step forward. On 16 February Guildford Borough Council granted planning consent for the sculpture to be located alongside the A3 at Compton. This magnificent bronze is currently on display in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in London until 6 April and the original plaster model can of course be seen at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. Work to prepare the ground for our sculpture will begin onsite imminently and with half the total funds raised already, we very much hope that our new bronze of horse and rider will be unveiled this Summer. We are indebted to everyone who supported this fantastic project through our Art Happens campaign with Art Fund last year and would be delighted to hear from anyone who can help us secure the sculpture's permanent place in the cultural landscape of Surrey.
Behind the scenes, February has seen our quarterly round of governance meetings – a vital part of being an independent charitable trust. We have also been putting the finishing touches to our preparations to join Arts Council England's National Portfolio from the start of April with approval by trustees of our four year business plan and promotions for our Patrons trips to Japan in October and Rome in November.
As the month draws to a close, we look forward to our new display Mary Watts: Pioneering Suffragist in the Studios, new temporary exhibitions Horses in Art Reimagined in the Contemporary Gallery and A Pre-Raphaelite Collection Unveiled: The Cecil French Bequest in our Temporary Exhibition Gallery – all opening in the coming weeks.
As ever my thanks go to our inspirational team of staff and volunteers who bring so much creativity and dynamism to our work throughout the year.
Director, Watts Gallery – Artists' Village