We are open!

FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE LAUNCH WEEK OF HASTINGS CONTEMPORARY:

We opened the doors as Hastings Contemporary for the first time to the public on Saturday 6th July. We were thrilled to welcome over 1,000 guests to our various launch events in the week leading up to the opening, including children and schools, the local community, Members and Donors and a Royal visit. We were honoured that His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester expressed a personal interest in the opening of the gallery, meeting the team and having first view of our new exhibitions – a very special moment indeed.

With the official opening being made by Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, it was a real opportunity for us to look forward to the future and thank those who have helped us get to where we are today – and who will continue to help us achieve more tomorrow. As a charity, we rely on the continuing support of our Members, Patrons and Donors and we were so pleased to be able to say ‘THANK YOU’ to as many of those individuals at the gallery with special Private Views of the exhibitions.

Webbe’s, who have had a cafe space here at the gallery since it opened, provided catering for the events and we were pleased to welcome local brewers Three Legs for the first time. We also celebrated with local musicians Los Twangueros, Shady Pines, DJ Andy Daa and DJ Jeff as well as local legends the RX Shantymen.

We were overwhelmed by the support of our industry peers, galleries and artists who have played such an important part in our journey so far. Rose Wylie, whose exhibition launched the gallery in 2012, was married to exhibiting artist Roy Oxlade and many of the works in the exhibition came from their home, along with works from Alison Jacques Gallery and private collections. Visitors expressed great delight to this exhibition, which also includes work by David Bomberg on loan from Daniel Katz, and were were equally as astonished by Quentin Blake’s recent drawings, celebrating the launch of Hastings Contemporary.

A further 412 visitors came through the door on Tuesday evening to watch a bespoke performance by the talented teachers and pupils from Hastings School of Contemporary Dance.

Moving forward, on the first Tuesday of every month, the gallery will be free to enter for everyone from 4pm and we stay open later than usual, until 8pm, to welcome in as many people as possible. First Free Tuesday is an absolute gallery favourite – there is always such a wonderful atmosphere and the space comes alive. Webbe’s cafe stays open throughout this time and the balcony is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over Hastings.

We were fortunate to work with Victoria Miro Gallery in putting together the exhibition of Tal R and grateful to the Danish Embassy in London for their support.

Working with artists is always an inspiring and unique journey and one that offers so much more than expected. This is has been particularly true when working with Tal R who has been a constant source of creative inspiration for the team. This came to life during the various moments of filming we undertook with Tal R, for the BBC, ITV and ourselves –
Gallery film coming soon!

Local artist, educator and Hastings Contemporary regular volunteer, Rebecca Ainscough, ran a series of workshops before the gallery opened to the public for 15 & 16 year old students. The students explored the gallery spaces and discussed techniques and approaches and to creating artworks including responding to sound, using different applications. It was wonderful to see the space full of students engaging in the artwork and resources around them – an inspiring session for everyone.

With many new and familiar faces exploring the gallery since we launched, we have welcomed many new Members and Patrons joining us both in person and online, we are so pleased to welcome you all!

We have had an incredible journey to get to where we are today and we are so thankful to everyone who has been involved – from our sponsors, visitors, volunteers, staff, Hastings itself – we are excited for what the future holds for Hastings Contemporary.

Images: ©Lens & Pixel