New gallery opens behind High Street coffee shop

8/9/12- Launch of the Art Academy exhibition at 1066 Costa Coffee, Battle.  Donald Riley with work by Shyshko
8/9/12- Launch of the Art Academy exhibition at 1066 Costa Coffee, Battle. Donald Riley with work by Shyshko

SOME of the finest art from London will be heading down to 1066 Country to feature in a new art gallery - in the back room of a coffee shop.

The 1066 Art Academy officially opened for business behind Costa Coffee in Battle High Street last week.

Donald Riley, who owns the building, says he hopes the new gallery will help bring ‘elitist’ art to the masses.

Mr Riley said: “When there is a show on, we just open the door and people can wander in and have a look.

“You’ve always got to have a place people feel comfortable in when you are showing art.

“Art is often seen as elitist and going into an art gallery is a demanding experience for many ordinary people.

“So it’s making it easier, as you have your coffee here and you know the place already.”

Unlike a ‘traditional’ art gallery, visitors aren’t greeted by stark white walls, but instead the gallery strives more for a casual feel.

Brick walls, an open fireplace, comfy chairs and numerous rugs turns the gallery into what feels like someone’s living room.

The current show is Post World War II Soviet Art, featuring industrial impression lyricism and propaganda posters, and will run for six weeks.

The 1066 Art Academy opened to coincide with the PURE Autumn Art Fair, which is currently running at the PowderMills Hotel.

Three artists exhibiting at the latest PURE fair have already expressed an interest in using the new gallery for forthcoming exhibitions.

And Mr Riley has plenty of other plans for the gallery, including a summer workshop for sculptors and painters.

The 1066 Art Academy is an offshoot of the independent Art Academy in London, which offers diplomas and other qualifications in fine art, along with part time and evening courses, and is connected with various charities.

Beyond the 1066 Art Academy, Battle businessman Mr Riley is working on another major project in Gagarin Square in London with a St Petersburg-based architect.

The ambitious exhibition features a tower shaped like a Russian rocket - further details can be found at

Closer to home, Mr Riley intends to find someone local to curate the Battle gallery.

The gallery is open Monday to Saturday, noon-3pm.