Research reveals significant social impact of Watts Gallery - Artists' Village

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Posted 5th December 2019

A new report, published on 5 December, shows how Watts Gallery – Artists' Village delivers social value to the communities it serves and how significant progress is being made to meet the needs of diverse groups across Surrey.

Art for All, written by Dr Helen Bowcock, provides clear evidence of the many different ways that people benefit from the charity and identifies how, through meaningful partnerships and the restoration of the Artists' Village, Watts Gallery Trust is once again a valuable community asset.

The report confirms significant progress since earlier research in 2017, and highlights the importance of philanthropy in enabling the on-going expansion of the Trust's social impact.

Founded in the village of Compton, Surrey at the end of the 19th century by the great Victorian artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817 – 1904) and his wife, the artist and designer Mary Watts (1849 – 1938), Watts Gallery – Artists' Village was established to provide Art for All. The Wattses believed that art could improve people's lives and they shared a commitment to create access to art and to craft for people who would not ordinarily have this opportunity.

Today, Watts Gallery Trust upholds this ethos, and through a far-reaching learning and outreach programme and pioneering exhibitions, the charity is able to deliver its founding mission to provide Art for All.

Dr Helen Bowcock says, 'It has been a great pleasure to have had reason to spend time at Watts Gallery-Artists' Village in preparing this report, but more significantly to see just how many other people gain from its culture and ethos. We are fortunate to have this excellent arts organisation so close to home and, thankfully, through philanthropic gifts, the legacy of G F and Mary Watts was saved to the great benefit of so many people.'

Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, says, 'Our founders' ethos of Art for All is the beating heart of Watts Gallery Trust's mission and vision. We live that mission and vision through a belief that the arts have an essential role to play in all our lives and can have a lasting positive impact on the participants in our programmes. I am grateful to Dr Helen Bowcock for her superb research into our social impact here and in the wider community and to our staff and supporters for enabling the artist in every one of us to shine. Helen's report highlights the 'virtuous circle' of volunteering, and I would like to take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt thanks to our volunteers for the central role they play in empowering creativity and participation.'

The report can be read in full below.

Art for All Report Download