I cannot let “Great wave of art coming our way” by Michael Green of Bexhill-on-Sea pass without comment, because his “tsunami wave of art” appears to miss one important spot on the coast of Sussex and Kent: Rye Art Gallery at the heart of Rye.
He champions the fact that the De La Warr Pavilion and other well-established coastal galleries will continue to receive significant benefit from the Arts Council, but, in these very challenging times, please spare some consideration for a small independent gallery, a registered charitable trust, an MLA accredited museum and well established (since the 1960s) centre for visual art, currently showing in half of its six exhibition spaces no less than three Royal Academicians (Fred Cuming, Mick Rooney and Gus Cummins). In the other half, there are selections of nationally important artworks from its Permanent Collection.
Described by many of its 5,000 visitors per quarter as a “hidden gem” and likened by more than one to Tate St Ives, the Gallery hosts a range of educational activities, lectures, workshops, all with active Friends’ support. Mick Rooney RA at a recent event reminded us that Rye Art Gallery should be seen as an important link in a chain of coastal art establishments from Margate to Brighton.
Since 2004, the Trustees have worked tirelessly to improve the infrastructure of the Gallery to enable a multi-faceted art programme to be developed. Important recognition of this work has been that our new extension and link between our heritage buildings was given the 2010 Townscape Award by Rye Conservation Society.
On behalf of the Trustees, here is an open invitation to visit Rye Art Gallery if only to see what a local community can do with imagination, innovation and minimal public funding in order to revive its multi-faceted art establishment as a key cultural centre for both residents and visitors alike.
Anthony Kimber PhD, Chair Rye Art Gallery Trust.