Bognor Regis art gallery closes

Su Cloud in the gallery last year. Picture by Kate Shemilt C140172-15
Su Cloud in the gallery last year. Picture by Kate Shemilt C140172-15

TOO few volunteers has led to the closure of the art gallery in Bognor Regis.

Cloudhopper Gallery was unable to continue with the few helpers willing to donate their time and effort to its town centre premises.

The lack of individuals meant it was impossible to sustain the gallery’s opening hours and carry out the behind the scenes work as well.

Joint founder Su Cloud said: “The gallery was unviable. It wasn’t particularly the financial side. It’s just that we did not have enough people willing to keep the doors open and get all the office work done.

“We had a couple of really good volunteers who came in on a regular basis but there wasn’t enough of them.”

This shortage led to the gallery briefly closing in June. It re-opened but holidays meant only two people were available to curate the exhibitions from 10am-4pm Tuesdays to Saturdays.

“We decided it was just too much work for such a few people to carry on,” said Su. “It was a sad decision to make but it had become incredibly hard work.”

The community interest company behind the creative venture, Community Arts Bognor Regis, intends to continue to promote the arts without the gallery.

Its seven committee members will meet in September to begin to decide how to carry on.

Su said: “We will see where we go from here and build on the success of the gallery.

“We had a lot of fantastic exhibitions. A lot of people really enjoyed coming in. They loved the space and they loved the art. ”We made contact with diverse sections of the community in different ways – people on work experience and those trying to get back into work – and we want to continue working for the community.”

One way could be to use the studio at ceramicist Su’s house in Aldwick. Links with schemes like the Big Blake Project in Felpham will be developed.

Cloudhopper Gallery opened in July 2013 in the former town museum in the High Street.

Its arrival was seen as a hopeful sign the area at the western end of the road could become a creative quarter.

Arun District Council allowed the gallery favourable terms to use the building. Eight original and four solo exhibitions were held each year. Other popular events, such as a wearable arts fashion show, also took place.

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