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22 May

We have the art here, all we need is iconic venue

Art for Guernsey, Press & Editions

A FRESH call for an ‘iconic’ arts venue in Guernsey has been made – with ‘world class’ art collectors ready to loan artworks to it for free.

Entrepreneur and art collector David Ummels told yesterday’s Chamber of Commerce lunch that ‘world class’ art collectors living locally would be willing to loan some of their collection to be displayed for free, but the island lacks an ‘iconic’ venue to display them. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 21522188)

Art for Guernsey founder David Ummels yesterday told business leaders that such a venue could support tourism and be a community asset as he set out the benefits of arts in education, society and the economy.

‘I have been advocating for the merits and the relevance to have an iconic art venue as part of the enhancement and the improvement plan of the harbour,’ said Mr Ummels.

‘I know six or seven world class art collectors who love Guernsey and live in Guernsey.


‘Out of love, they would lend their artwork free to curate something world class, so that we can support our infrastructure assets in tourism industry or hospitality, and obviously offer something to our local community. But the venue is not there.’

Mr Ummels, an entrepreneur and art collector, also told the monthly Chamber of Commerce lunch, about a project that shared museum quality art with local schools.

Around 35 pieces of artwork have been lent to 18 island schools as part of a scheme with the education service, and used in wider learning and integrated into the curriculum.

The lunch also heard how an ink drawing featuring Guernsey by former artist in resident Olivia Kemp will feature at an exhibition marketing Prince Charles’ 70th birthday as part of Buckingham Palace’s summer opening.

Art in Guernsey brings over an artist in residence each year.


‘That artwork, in my opinion, has been endorsed by the community. It was the subject of more than 20,000 comments, likes or shares from Guernsey-based people – which is one-third of our island,’ said Mr Ummels.

‘Prince Charles basically asked us to borrow that artwork because he wants to celebrate his birthday, and he contacted Olivia, who is already in his collections.

‘That’s basically the one he selected because he loves the Channel Islands very much.’


Hugh Rose, from the Arts for Impact, also told business leaders about how the X-ray room at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital was turned into a ‘spaceship’ using art to make it less scary for children.

The charity, which is supported by Mr Ummels, worked with hospital staff to devise the idea – and it’s proved so successful that it’s now been exported to the UK.

‘Wearing our entrepreneurial hat, we contacted Agfa, the manufacturer of the X-ray equipment, to see if they would be interested in offering a theme like the spaceship to their clients.

‘Sure enough, by the end of the year, we had installed two similar rooms for the NHS at Exeter Wonford Hospital,’ said Mr Rose.

The charity also turned Agfa’s mobile X-ray machine into a children-friendly character.

Raymond the mobile X-ray robot has since made his debut.

The charity, now in its second year, is currently installing some artwork into Le Marchant rehabilitation ward at the PEH to aid people’s recovery.

Article by the Guernsey Press.

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