#chester #twentytwogallery #juliecolclough #chesterartcentre
On Thursday our daughter invited us to visit Chester with her as it was the Winter Parade in the evening. Also, she was excited to show us all the new art establishments in Chester town centre. As well as the established galleries, a group managed by Chester Art Centre was helping artists to set up galleries in empty commercial premises to form a mutual beneficial relationship.
Our first visit was to the new 22 gallery. Since our daughter's first visit a couple of weeks ago, two more floors had opened up to display artwork. After enjoying viewing the work on the three floors we had a long chat with one of the resident artists and organisers of the gallery, whom our daughter had friended as she admired his work. The idea that this premises had been transformed showed what could be achieved with the right foresight and backing by the appropriate bodies.
Walking around the corner onto Watergate Street, we saw a sign for The Julie Colclough Gallery. This was a surprise as we often visit Chester and hadn't noticed it before. Going up the stairs to the second level of shops, we entered the gallery to find Julie sat working on a painting. Chatting to her was fascinating and we found out that we had several connections in common. Julie, as well as painting had run classes near our home town and interestingly the newly discovered artist, Eric Tucker, from Warrington had attended these classes.
Looking at her work was interesting, as she had been a professional artist for several years and as well as being a successful illustrator had a distinctive painting style that captured local scenes and ones from her travels. After an interesting time discussing art, we decided to move on, but we agreed that we must remember to visit again in future.
Crossing the road we visited a couple of the established galleries that displayed a wide range of work to suit all tastes, as well as costly prints.
A couple of the other new pop up galleries had now closed as it was getting late. We decided to have something to eat and wait for the Winter Parade taking place at 7pm. Next time we are in Chester, we will visit more of them.
Finding out about these initiatives, reminded me about a visit we made to Hay-on-Wye a few years ago, where the town has become famous for it's book stores and book festival, Chester could easily become a centre for the arts, if these forward thinking policies continue. It shows how different organisations coming together can create something beneficial to the arts and the community and could also bring in welcome tourists to the area, which would in turn help to boost the local economy.
We just have to hope that once established, the galleries are not charged too much in rates, by the council, that they have to close.