First-birthday celebrations for West Wittering gallery

Linda Foskett
Linda Foskett

The little art gallery in West Wittering is celebrating its first birthday after a successful first year in business. Linda Foskett, who runs it with Karen Ongley-Snook, is delighted at the way the gallery, in a former butcher’s shop, has established itself so quickly.

“We are now becoming known for the variety of work we have to offer as a gallery. People have started to travel from further afield to view works by their favourite artists. It has been a very interesting year. We are a contemporary art gallery with a difference. We have had a series of exhibitions showing work by a variety of artists with varying styles. With a gazebo in front of our little gallery, we have been able to hold summer and Christmas events.”

For the moment, though, they are happy to look back. The anniversary exhibition offers a selection of work by all the artists who have exhibited with them during their first year, featuring “paintings, prints, glass and enamelware, jewellery and so much more.”

It runs until April 19, 10.30am-5pm, Thurs-Sun, at the gallery in Rookwood Road, West Wittering (www.thelittleartgallery.online; 01243 512218).

It all started because the new owner of the premises knew that Karen had been talking for years about having a gallery, Linda explains: “We have exhibited over the years in village halls and different shows and the Chichester and Arundel trails and the Oxmarket, of course, and Karen is always looking for new opportunities.

“It was an old butcher’s shop so we took out all the tiles and made it look much nicer. It has just grown from there really. We know a lot of artists because we have been exhibiting for years, and we are in a really rich area in terms of the quality of the artists around. We are never short of anything to put on our walls! We did at the beginning have featured artists for two weeks at a time but we are finding it more popular to do a bit more of a mixed show. We chat to the artists and tell them what slots we have got coming up and they will come up with fresh work. We give them guidance as to what we want.”

Over the first year, they have featured around 30 artists, mostly West Sussex, but also Hayling Island and Hillhead.

Linda admits it has been hard work, but it has also been very rewarding: “Last summer I was here almost every day, but we have got a bit more control now, and at the moment, we are not opening more than four days a week. We are fairly weather-based. People will go to the beach when the weather is fine, but when it is miserable, there are not a lot of people around.

“But we are very pleased. It has been rewarding on all fronts. The artists are extremely grateful that there is a new venue to exhibit their work at, and it has meant that a lot of people have had the chance to meet each other. It is a very sociable thing.

“And we just hope that it will continue on the same footing as it is at the moment. I really wouldn’t want to change it. This is something I never thought I would be doing at my time of life. I was retired… and things like getting the website sorted were a big shock!

“We like to be informative with what we have on display. For a printmaking exhibition the artists gave us tools and plates to show how their work was produced. We plan to extend this idea in the summer. For the Festival of Chichester David Peduzzi will be giving a talk on his wood engravings, and we will be demonstrating other types of print-making.”

For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2
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