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National Gallery to set up exhibition centre in St George

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The Bermuda National Gallery is to open a new exhibition centre in St George next month,

The Royal Gazette can reveal.

And the development has been applauded by east end officials who say a prestigious art gallery will help establish the town as a major centre for cultural tourism.

The gallery, which has a number of works by major artists in its main collection at City Hall, Hamilton, will be opening the satellite at Bridge House, a National Trust property just off the town’s public square.

The new gallery — BNG East — was in the planning stages for a number of years before organisers were able to locate a suitable venue. It will open on June 15 and will hold three or four exhibitions a year.

Describing the development as part of a “resurgence of the old town”, BNG director Lisa Howie said: “The opportunity to open a satellite in St George’s is one that has been explored for a few years, and now the time and location is right. In line with the BNG’s core value of collaboration, it is most fittingly in a National Trust property. St George’s is so culturally and historically rich that being located there is most appropriate.

“This opportunity to scale up the BNG is very much in line with the core values of the organisation. We believe that art is fundamental to the welfare of our society, and that experiences with art enhance our lives. By extending the art experience to the BNG East site, we intend to reach more of our local and visiting population.”

According to Ms Howie, the new space will very much be an extension of the main Hamilton gallery, which presents artwork from the historical through to the contemporary.

“We intend to showcase local artists — present and past — and international artists through meaningful exhibitions and we intend to provide a source of education and enrichment that adds to the culturally rich historic location of St George’s,” she said.

Bridge House previously housed offices, and Ms Howie said that BNG was able to fund the expansion “thanks to a friend of the BNG who is most supportive of this pilot venture”.

BNG chairman, Gary Phillips added: “This move fulfills yet another one of our strategic objectives as we aim to make our programming accessible throughout the community.

“We are grateful for the encouraging and sustained support we receive from the art community, our sponsors, members and volunteers who inspire us each day to be a strong and meaningful presence throughout the island.”

St George’s Mayor Garth Rothwell welcomed the news, saying the development was “one more step forward” in the regeneration of the town.

“I’m delighted that the National Gallery is coming to St George’s and I’m sure it will be a success,” Mayor Rothwell said.

“Bridge House is a perfect location for a gallery and it is just one more attraction that our visitors will be able to visit.”

The Mayor added that officials were eager to push the World Heritage status town as a major centre for cultural tourism, and that the gallery was “a perfect fit”.

“We now have quite a few organisations holding events in the town — it seems to be increasing all the time,” Mayor Rothwell said.

“This just adds to everything else that is going on in the town. We have been working with the St George’s Foundation and the World Heritage management committee to promote cultural tourism as a major plank and the gallery is the perfect fit.”

BNG East will open on June 15, to coincide with an Art Walk through the town on the same day. There will be a Members’ opening in the afternoon, followed by open doors to the public for the Art Walk that evening. The gallery’s opening exhibition will feature the work of local artist James Cooper, whose photographic and mixed media works “challenge the common perceptions of Bermuda’s environment”. Admission will be free.

Art on its way: Bermuda National Trust maintenance worker Randy Denbrook puts the finishing touches on Bridge House in St George, which is going to be used by the Bermuda National Gallery.
Bermuda National Trust maintenance worker Randy Denbrook puts the finishing touches on Bridge House in St Georges which is going to be used for the Bermuda National Gallery. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published May 21, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 21, 2013 at 12:08 am)

National Gallery to set up exhibition centre in St George

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