Discover the new home of Art for Guernsey

GAME-CHANGING NEWS

Art for Guernsey is a charity managed by a team of passionate professionals who share a belief in the power of art to achieve wider societal goals. Founded in response to Guernsey’s incredible community values and unique integrity, Art for Guernsey has a strong remit to bring art where it is most needed, to inspire people and try to make them happy.

After five years and 48 exhibitions and events, the team is delighted to announce the game changing news that they are setting up home in a gallery space in the heart of St Peter Port’s Old Quarter. This is a unique opportunity to deliver a much-needed and long-awaited asset for the island, which is desperately short of inspiring curating, workshop and meeting spaces.

The charity had been searching for suitable premises throughout 2021, and identified the opportunity in Mansell Street some time ago. Closely aligned benefactors very generously offered to purchase the building and lease it
back to Art for Guernsey on a non-commercial basis for a minimum of 15 years, allowing the team to finally call this incredibly versatile venue home.

Its location is ideal, allowing the gallery to act as a key catalyst to help rejuvenate the Old Quarter. Art for Guernsey has consistently shown the merits of using art as an enabler to achieve quantifiable and measurable goals, with wide societal, social, economic and diplomatic benefits. This fabulous gallery will allow the team to bring over more visiting artists and scholars, support more local art projects and host many more workshops,
lectures, events and exhibitions.

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE

Art for Guernsey has an exciting vision for the future, and the gallery will help the charity to continue with its entrepreneurial and not-for-profit approach where revenues are reinvested into more activities, projects and exhibitions for the island. The space will be truly inclusive – a space where tolerance and freedom of speech are paramount, and accessible to all.

Local artists and students will find a place in which to think and create, with a workshop infrastructure that will provide access to art materials and machinery. This will encourage them to aim high and be proud of Guernsey’s contribution to the world as an artistic community. Art for Guernsey is keen to expand its collaboration with schools and encourage young people to be bold and believe in their talents, with a dedicated area for schools as an extension of their classrooms, incorporating a space permanently curating children’s art.

The gallery will also allow Art for Guernsey to accelerate the development of its inspiring and very successful artist in residence programme with international artists. It will facilitate engagements with those artists within the community and create cultural exchange opportunities, improving the quality of life of islanders with a vastly increased cultural offering.

THE GALLERY SPACE

The gallery comprises traditional stone-built buildings amalgamated to form an extended unit in the heart of the Old Quarter, lying at the junction of Mansell Street and Contree Croix Mansell. The property benefits from excellent window display frontage onto both streets. The area spans over two floors, amounting to circa 8,000 sq ft.

The fully accessible environment will include ramps, an elevator and other professional recommendations from the Disability Alliance. Features will include a welcoming curating space to provide a real wow factor at the entrance of the gallery, a café-style area which members can use for their meetings and a gallery space where events and exhibitions will be hosted. There will also be an Art Library, suited to educational and social activities or quiet reading, which can be turned into a hospitality environment for bespoke community or corporate events. A strong room will be used to display highly valued artworks and to provide virtual reality experiences such as museum visits or art creation.

A Children’s Workshop and Gallery will be specifically dedicated to local children and schools for presentations, meetings, creative projects, lectures and workshops, with year-round curation of their work. Art for Guernsey has also identified an education gap between schools’ provision and and further education, which it intends to bridge by establishing the AFG Academy, allowing students to make use of art materials and equipment and to acquire skills and confidence of expression, helping them to prepare for further study or a career in the creative sector.

ART FOR GUERNSEY AND ARTS FOR IMPACT JOINT FORCES

Art for Guernsey is a long-term supporter of Arts for Impact, a charity which applies creative assets to achieve societal goals. AFG and AFI have been partners in multiple community-driven art projects, and the new gallery has provided the appropriate opportunity and impetus for them to join forces in order to create a team with a common ethos and an unparalleled track record in terms of delivering value for the community through art projects.

Art for Guernsey’s Jock Pettitt said: “We have been consistently supportive of and always impressed by the work of the Arts for Impact team, often collaborating directly with them over the past five years on multiple community focussed projects, their involvement has always added another dimension. It has been a pleasure to watch this organisation mature and to see the impact of their creativity and resourcefulness realised in the community time and time again. We are delighted to embrace this opportunity to join forces; working with the Arts for Impact team more closely will bring many more opportunities in our curation, our inclusivity and our impact in the community. We are all looking forward to embarking on a new chapter together in our new home.”

Arts for Impact Managing Director Helen Bonner-Morgan added, “By joining forces we’re going to create multiple, regular and valuable opportunities for a wide breadth of our community. Together, we will build on our existing and complementary strengths of being consistent, proactive, creative and accessible. This closer connection feels like a natural evolution to drive the aims of both charities forward.

Our new and welcoming home will ensure that all people can ignite their curiosity and experience increased joy, well-being and purpose through immersing themselves in Art in many ways. Whether you’re taking part or spectating, sharing the creative process can be transformational and impact all our lives very positively. I can’t wait for the doors to open and for the community to benefit.”

PROJECT TIMELINE AND FORTHCOMING EXHIBITIONS

Before works begin on the redevelopment of the building, Art for Guernsey has identified a unique creative opportunity to present their new home to the community, and to begin the fundraising necessary to realise the ambition of this valuable project. The charity will be handing the keys to a number of the UK’s most exciting street artists in January, who will take over the gallery walls. The resulting exhibition will provide an opportunity for islanders – including students of all ages – to engage with the art in an immersive experience and find out more about Art for Guernsey’s plans for the gallery. The charity intends to use this platform to raise funds through sales of artworks and hosting bespoke events – with some innovative twists – prior to the fit-out phase, which is due to commence in late February 2022.

The gallery’s official opening is expected to take place in the late summer of 2022 with the much-anticipated exhibition ‘A Renaissance of Victor Hugo’, featuring the works of Daniel Hosego and Oleg Mikhailov in response to inspiration provided by Victor Hugo’s residence in Guernsey and, specifically, his novel Toilers of the Sea.

STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFACTORS

A number of key stakeholders have been inspired to collaborate on the fit-out of the gallery on a not-for-profit basis. StudiO Architecture & Design will provide architectural services and project management, whilst Rihoy & Son will act as general contractors. Oliver Westgarth, founder of StudiO, said:

“We at StudiO have long considered ourselves part of the Art for Guernsey family. Since day one David’s vision, a vision that has inspired many others and led to an amazing and committed team, has been one which we have passionately advocated for and believed in.

The wonderful range of the project’s scale and intent; from grassroot impact on our school children, to the ambitious global reach of the project, makes it, to my mind, unique in Guernsey.

Guernsey has many strengths, including a strong creative community, however it’s not what we’re known for and I don’t believe any other Arts organisation has managed to draw the pieces together so professionally. The island packs a disproportionate punch in many areas, but this project is and will continue to put Guernsey ‘on the map’ in a whole new creative way.

The search for a suitable home for Art of Guernsey has taken some years and finally we have the perfect opportunity, we are honoured and delighted to be involved in bringing it to reality.”

A core value of StudiO is to prioritise the projects which we feel really matter, projects of integrity, such as the ‘Children’s Library’. This is our first high visibility community project under the new brand and I could not personally be happier about that.”

Hiscox Insurance Company, one of the biggest art insurers in the world and a firm that has been supportive of Art for Guernsey since its creation, has made a substantial donation towards the project and is providing valued consultancy expertise on art insurance matters. Mike Williams, Managing Director and Partner Hiscox Guernsey, said: “It’s great to be able to support Art for Guernsey again this year. We really value the partnership and look forward to seeing the amazing work resulting from Guernsey’s local talent embracing this community asset. Art is part of the DNA of Hiscox; we collect it, we insure it and we support it. In return, we are inspired by it.”

The Sarah Groves Foundation has also committed to supporting the creation of the Children’s Workshop and Gallery with a substantial donation. Vic Groves, founder of the foundation he established in his daughter Sarah’s name, said: “The overriding mission statement of the Sarah Groves Foundation is ‘Enhancing young lives’. To achieve this we have four keywords derived from Sarah’s own passions in life – children, art, fitness and adventure. The Trustees are determined that there will be a series of long-term legacies from which Sarah’s name is remembered well into the future in a positive and relevant way. Over the past three years we have been the lead sponsor for two such projects at the Guille-Allès Library and we have been the lead sponsor for the first public playground for children on Sark. Those projects, within the realms of art and adventure, are certainly enhancing many young lives and will do so for many years to come.

“It is with immense pride that we have chosen as our fourth longer term project to support Art for Guernsey in the exciting new art gallery being proposed in St Peter Port. When complete, this gallery will be a massive boost for the arts in Guernsey and will be something in which Sarah would have participated herself and of which she would undoubtedly be very proud. We, as Trustees, hope to be associated with this wonderful project for many years to come.”

DAVID UMMELS SAID:

“Finding a home for Art for Guernsey has been a key priority for years, and we are absolutely delighted to now call home this wonderful gallery at the very heart of the Old Quarter. This space will be a key asset for the visual arts in Guernsey, and also a very welcoming creative platform for the community and a key educational asset for us to accelerate our engagements with local schools and provide local art students with the environment that they need to thrive. It is a well-documented fact that art galleries and artists are a key ingredient to help rejuvenate run-down areas (the latest examples in London are Hackney, Peckham and Woolwich) and we certainly have the wider ambition to help bring life back to the Old Quarter.

“We feel that the future is bright for the visual arts in Guernsey and on behalf of the team I would like to wish everybody a wonderful festive season and a happy new year. We look forward to welcoming you in January at the Street Art Exhibition.”

Art for Guernsey is a charitable initiative managed by a team of passionate professionals who share a belief in the transformative power of art to bring communities together, provide educational opportunities and promote Cultural Diplomacy. Each year Art for Guernsey invites an internationally renowned artist to visit and be inspired by Guernsey, and to produce related artworks to constitute an artistic legacy for the island. Art in School, our innovative art-lending programme, makes available artworks of museum quality to any Guernsey school willing to develop project-based learning opportunities and use the artworks in a multidisciplinary context (creative writing, geography, science, maths, history, technology and so on). This inventive art-lending programme has been incredibly successful: to date 18 Guernsey schools have engaged with the initiative. Art for Guernsey also has a strong remit to support local artists in various ways and to invest its resources to support various innovative art and education-related local charitable projects.

www.artforguernsey.com | For press enquiries, please contact Jon (Jock) Pettitt: jock@artforguernsey.com

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