High-profile artists officially launch Chichester's revitalised Oxmarket Gallery

Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery is promising a “sensational” exhibition under the title stART officially marking its revitalised re-emergence.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 6:05 am
Oxmarket chairman Sophie Hull
Oxmarket chairman Sophie Hull

The gallery spent the lockdown months of January to March undergoing a complete make-over before reopening in April. Now comes the official celebration of its new look – and of the much higher profile it intends to take, not just in Chichester but much further afield as well. stART will run from May 25-June 6.

Oxmarket chairman Sophie Hull said: “In essence, stART is a celebratory, dynamic, exciting exhibition filled with a variety of works by high-quality artists to promote and mark our reopening while solidifying our name as a staple on the Chichester arts scene.

“We have several artists who haven’t exhibited with us before – both local and national – who we believe will be of great interest to our audience as well as several artists who have exhibited previously and are very popular with our visitors. Artists exhibiting include Philip Jackson, Pippa Blake, Margo Selby, Richard Perry, Catherine Barnes and John Hitchens to name just a few!”

Some of the proceeds from the sale of their works will go to towards the Oxmarket’s Refr

esh appeal which funded the gallery’s extensive refurbishment. Sophie stresses that the gallery still needs to find £60,000 and that fund-raising remains absolutely vital to the venue.

It won’t be easy to secure the outstanding money, but Sophie and the team have certainly been buoyed by the overwhelmingly positive response they have received to the gallery’s new look: “It has just been fantastic. It really has been amazing. Everyone walks in and they say ‘Wow!’ It is the light, the look, the refurbishment, the simplicity of it all, the contemporary-ness of it all. People just love it. It has become a must-go-to place like the Cathedral, the Novium, Pallant House Gallery. I don’t think it has been so in the past. But entrance is free; exhibitions change every fortnight and it just looks wonderful. In the first week after opening, the sales were phenomenal which was a lovely way to start.”

The exhibition will include work by Adam Aaronson, Catherine Barnes, Pippa Blake, Maggie Cochran, Freddie Crossley, Allan Davies, Sue England, Jane Fremantle, Fiona Gowar, Jan Griffiths, John Hitchens, Kayley Holderness, Philip Jackson, Martyn Jones, Ron King, Willow Legge, Fred Masters, Eric Mellon, John O’Rourke, Piers Ottey, David Peduzzi, Caron Penney, Richard Perry, Margo Selby, Geraldine St Aubyn Hubbard, Kevin Stamper, Katherine Swailes, Martina Thomas, Lisa Traxler, Emma Tweedie and Kim Whitby.

The names signal the new ambition. There is determination to spread the word about all that the Oxmarket can now offer.

“But the big issue remains the signage to get people to come in off East Street and from Little London car park. We are still a bit hidden away.”

The hope is that improved signage will lead to increased footfall for the gallery: “I think increasingly that will improve, that we will get better signage, but that needs money. We are still raising money for the refurbishment which is not 100 per cent finished, but not far off. But fund-raising will continue to be absolutely vital to us because there are still so many things that we want to do.”