Exhibitions programme confirmed as Worthing Museum & Art Gallery reopens

Worthing Theatres and Museum have confirmed the Museum and Gallery will be reopening with a range of new exhibitions from Saturday, May 22.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 7:05 am
Indian Yellow
Indian Yellow

Initially the museum will be open Saturdays (10am-5pm) and Thursdays (10am-8pm). The new Thursday late nights offer, for the first time, the opportunity to enjoy curator talks, exhibitions and WTM’s permanent collections in the evening.

Head of curation and engagement Gerry Connolly said: “It is wonderful to be able to reopen the museum with four unique new exhibitions that celebrate local people and highlight the unprecedented circumstances of last year.

“Alongside our permanent collections, a new diverse programme of walks, talks and workshops offers you the opportunity to meet our curators and gain an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes at the museum. Over the last few months we have been busy updating displays and making huge improvements to areas of the museum. We are really excited for visitors to see the changes that have been taking place.’

“WTM’s main gallery will feature Indian Yellow, an exhibition of paintings by local abstract artist Anthony Bennett. This exhibition was originally supposed to take place in spring 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. The vibrant abstract works feature Indian Yellow, brilliant pink and magenta that set a warm platform for bright viridian green and cobalt violet. Anthony Bennett’s first solo exhibition was in Berlin in 1982. He has exhibited widely in Germany and the UK and his work appears in many private and public collections including the Artothek des NBK and the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art Berlin.”

Gerry added: “The exceptional circumstances in 2020 meant WTM’s Open exhibition had to move online as the Digital Open20. Amateur and professional artists from all over Sussex were invited to submit their work digitally, the public then voted for their favourite submissions and these selected works will now appear in a physical exhibition in the Norwood Gallery. WTM have also announced that the Open will return in its traditional format later this year with the Open21 exhibition. More details to be announced soon.

“The Garden Gallery will display Pet Portraits by Hercule Van Wolfwinkle. Worthing resident Phil Heckels created an internet storm during lockdown under the alias Hercule Van Wolfwinkle with his self styled ‘rubbish’ Pet Portraits.

“What started as a thank-you card to his parents, as an attempt to get his reluctant six-year-old away from computer games turned into hundreds of pet portrait requests flying in from around the globe and raising over £50,000 for West Sussex charity Turning Tides. This is Phil’s first ever exhibition which opens on Saturday, May 22 a week before the release of his first book Rubbish Pet Portraits on Saturday, May 27.

“Photographic exhibition In Their Shoes – Tales Of Life During Lockdown celebrates WTM’s local community during the Covid pandemic. The exhibition combines a series of portraits, narrative accounts and a poignant soundscape, to capture the experiences of 14 individuals and groups and tell their lockdown stories.

"These stories have been brought together by local photographer Anja Poehlmann, sound artist Adam Moffatt-Seaman and Worthing Museum engagement officer Vicki Wells, to capture this unique episode in our shared contemporary history.

“2021 sees WTM’s largest ever programme of archaeology walks with resident archaeologist James Sainsbury.

“There will be 11 walks taking place between May and September giving you the chance to explore the archaeology and history of both the Adur and Arun valleys, including famous historic locations such as Cissbury Ring, Highdown Hill and Chanctonbury Ring. As always there will be the opportunity to handle genuine artefacts from the museum collections in the locations they were originally found.”

WTM archaeologist James: “We are all extremely lucky to live in an area that not only has outstanding natural beauty, but also outstanding archaeological remains. I hope during these walks I can communicate and share my passion for these ancient places and the peoples who once lived, walked, loved and died within the landscapes we inherited today.”

WTM have also announced a new series of curator talks focusing on the museum’s exhibitions and collections; and featuring some new discoveries and developments that have been going on behind the scenes. The programme includes talks on topics such as Curating a Nationally Significant Costume Collection (July 22), the Edburton Hoard (May 27 and July 31) and the Indian Yellow exhibition (June 17, July 3 and 29). All these talks take place in the museum offering you the opportunity to enjoy the exhibitions and collections as well during your visit.

Additionally archaeologist James Sainsbury is giving his first talk on stage in the Pavilion Theatre this June. James Sainsbury: John Pull & Worthing’s Stone Age Revolution (June 15) discusses John Pull, a working-class amateur archaeologist who made discoveries of international significance on the beautiful downland north of Worthing.

There are also a selection of workshops where WTM expert curators are offering a unique opportunity to get up close to the artefacts, ask questions and learn new skills in a series of workshops. You could learn about Archaeological Photography (June 26 and July 1), Still Life techniques (June 3 and 5) or Printmaking Techniques (July 8). There is also the opportunity for the kids to get creative with the Children’s Historic Hat Making workshop (July 17), where they can take inspiration from actual historic hats or create a head adornment straight from their own imagination.

WTM CEO Amanda O’Reilly said: “We are delighted to be reopening the museum offering the community access to a fantastic set of exhibitions, most with a local link, alongside an amazing programme of walks, talks and workshops. We have also been working hard behind the scenes and regular museum visitors should see some exciting improvements. We will continue to prioritise safety in all our venues, will be limiting the number of people inside the museum and continuing to implement additional safety procedures.’

“The exhibitions and permanent collections are free to view. However as a charitable organisation WTM welcomes donations which support their work bringing arts and heritage to Worthing.

“Additional safety measures remain in place throughout the museum and visitors are asked to wear masks in line with government guidance.

For more information and to book event tickets visit www.wtam.uk or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206206.

Events include:

Indian Yellow

Date: Saturday May 22 2021

Venue: Main Gallery, Worthing Museum

Digital Open20

Date: 22 Saturday May 2021

Venue: Norwood Gallery, Worthing Museum

Hercule Van Wolfwinkle

Date: Saturday May 22 2021

Venue: Garden Gallery, Worthing Museum

In Their Shoes - Tales Of Life During Lockdown

Date: Saturday May 22 2021

Venue: Studio Gallery, Worthing Museum

Curator Talk: Cutting Edge

Date & Time: Saturday, May 22, 11am & Thursday, June 10, 6.30pm

Venue: Museum Education Room, Worthing Museum

Price: £7.50

Age Guidance: Suitable for Ages 12+

Curator Talk: Edburton Hoard

Date & Time: Thursday May 27th, 6.30pm & Saturday, July 31, 11am

Venue: Museum Education Room, Worthing Museum

Price: £7.50

Age Guidance: Suitable for Ages 12+