Welcome to Hastings Contemporary
Since becoming the Director in 2010, I have had the pleasure of being involved in the shaping of this gallery for Hastings, first the capital construction, and then, in 2012, its operation. With my colleagues and our Board of Trustees, I’ve been privileged in helping decide how an institution dedicated to the very best of modern and contemporary art can strive to be relevant – in a world that seems more challenging and complex every day.
The response to the art we’ve shown here has been phenomenal. The members, the communities of Hastings and the national and international visitors who’ve sought out our exhibitions, demonstrate that Hastings has a vital part to play in artistic exchange. Since we opened our doors in 2012, over 300,000 people have visited our exhibitions, with many more engaging in various learning and participation programmes, from bespoke hospice and refugee projects, to targeted support for people with complex additional needs. Our membership has grown apace, and schoolchildren have flourished in the workshops we created with and for them. All this has driven me and my Trustees to work towards what we feel is the best future for us and our visitors.
The launch of Hastings Contemporary as an independent gallery, marks a new and important chapter, one that will bring an international dimension to our burgeoning programme of modern and contemporary art. As an independent gallery, Hastings Contemporary will showcase art by artists from the South East, as well as national and international practitioners. It will continue to present both historic and contemporary art, providing new opportunities to explore connections between history and the present.
Seven years ago, Jerwood Foundation and Hastings Borough Council had the incredible foresight of the potential of Hastings as a major contributor to the arts. The Foundation’s legacy will live on, as their original building takes on the name of its host town and broadens out its programme in recognition of their increasingly diverse audiences. This gallery has already proven its ability to be an agent of change, and as an independent gallery for Hastings and the South East, strengthening our community and education offer will be more important than ever.
The world is changing and Art is changing, and with the full use of this incredible building, Hastings Contemporary will have full autonomy over the creative exchange it can offer, building national and international partnerships and continuing to grow its ties locally.
Welcome, to Hastings Contemporary.
Liz Gilmore, Director