Jerwood Gallery Prepares For Public Opening In Hastings

Saturday 17 MARCH 2012 will herald a new era for contemporary art on the East Sussex coast

The keenly anticipated Jerwood Gallery in Hastings opens its doors to the public on 17 March 2012. Designed by the young architectural practice HAT Projects, the Gallery houses the Foundation’s collection of 20th and 21st century art, which is going on public display for the first time. The £4million gallery, for which the capital and running costs are funded by the Jerwood Foundation, is seen as an important catalyst in the cultural and economic regeneration of the area.
The Gallery is part of a landmark £9million redevelopment of the Stade, a historic area in Hastings’ Old Town, home to Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet.  It will establish Hastings in the ‘string of pearls’ of prestigious cultural attractions along the South Coast, which includes the Turner Contemporary at Margate, the Folkestone Triennial, the Towner in Eastbourne, De la Warr Pavilion at Bexhill and Pallant House at Chichester.

Alan Grieve, Chairman of the Jerwood Foundation said of the project: “The philanthropy of Jerwood to nurture creativity and support the arts has been central to our chosen strategy, thinking and grant giving. The new Jerwood Gallery marks a key moment in the history of the Jerwood Foundation. Not only will it be an opportunity to celebrate the 20th and 21st century British art in our collection, but it will also create a tangible relationship between those works and our curated exhibition programme which will be shown in the Gallery.”
Leader of Hastings Borough Council Jeremy Birch added: “This is a great day for Hastings. The Jerwood Gallery marks the culmination of £9m investment on the Stade, transforming a faded coach and lorry park into a purpose built outdoor event area, quality community facilities, a fantastic new cafe and, now, this superb gallery which will be a great resource for local residents, and a wonderful new attraction for visitors. The whole town will benefit from this development, creating much-needed jobs, and yet another reason to visit us”.
The Jerwood Gallery will open with the UK’s first retrospective of the works of Kent-based artist Rose Wylie, who was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Prize for Visual Arts in 2011, organised in partnership with the Union Gallery, London. Rose is no stranger to the Jerwood Foundation, having been shortlisted for its fourth Painting Prize in 1997 and featuring in Give and Take (Jerwood Space, 2000) and the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2003.
Liz Gilmore, Director of Jerwood Gallery said: “We are delighted to celebrate Rose Wylie’s contribution to painting through our inaugural show. Rose sets the direction for all our future exhibitions: to recognise creative talent and nurture what is most significant and important to both artists and visitors. The contemporary programme will complement Jerwood’s Collection of Modern British Art, which itself is live and growing and a source of inspiration for artists today”.
“HAT Projects’ design for the Gallery has grown out of a response to the particular requirements of the Jerwood Collection and the character of the site. The building sits among the unique Hastings net shops, on the edge of the working fishing beach, and the exterior is clad in over 8000 black ceramic tiles, hand-glazed a few miles away in Kent, which reflect the changing seaside light. The emphasis on sustainability is exemplary, with the building creating 60% less CO2 per m2 than an average museum of a comparable size and using 120m deep ground probes to cool the air for the gallery. It houses a range of gallery spaces from intimate rooms through to a dramatic 180m2 gallery for the temporary exhibition programme”; Tom Grieve and Hana Loftus of HAT Projects said.
The ambition of the design has been to create a new civic focus while remaining sensitive to the extraordinary character of the site. The building celebrates the changing seaside light and draws in the fantastic views that the site offers, creating an intimate environment in which to discover the art it contains.
As the new home of the Jerwood Collection, the Gallery will feature work by British artists from the 20th and 21st century such as Sir Stanley Spencer RA, Lawrence Stephen Lowry RA, and Augustus John RA, alongside works from winners of the Jerwood Painting Prize such as Craigie Aitchison, RA, Maggi Hambling, Patrick Caulfield, RA and Prunella Clough. The Gallery will take on both regional and national significance as the venue for many of the exhibitions that run through the Jerwood Visual Arts Programme. This currently includes the Jerwood
Drawing Prize , Jerwood Contemporary Makers , Jerwood Contemporary Painters and the Encounters Series, a sequence of smaller, cross-disciplinary shows. These exhibitions show the best emerging artists from around Britain, and are widely recognised as a place to discover ‘rising stars’ in contemporary arts.
In line with Jerwood Foundation’s firm belief that arts and education are intrinsically linked, the Gallery will benefit local communities through outreach activities and by enabling its use as a resource for local schools, colleges and community groups.  The Jerwood Foundation has been involved in a number of projects in Hastings leading up to the Gallery development. The Foundation sponsored both the Hastings’ Sea Angling Festival in 2010 and 2011 and the new Sussex Arts Prize at the Sussex Coast College in July 2010. Plans are now underway for an ambassador programme involving a young representative from every school in Hastings and film collaboration with Project Artworks, which will capture the uninhabited Jerwood Gallery in a way that provides poetic and intimate insight into its spaces.

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