The city is about to come alive with colour, creativity and inspiration as Southampton’s local artists prove their talents and prepare to open a new gallery.
The exhibition, ‘All Our Own work’, opened in February with only a month’s lease, but one month on, their hard work and extravagant art has guaranteed them a year’s lease for a new art gallery.
An unused building on East Street will house the new, two floor art gallery named ‘Genesis XWWX’ which aims to open at the beginning of May.
The new space will allow for more work to be displayed, as well as giving local artists the chance to perform live exhibitions.
Volunteers at the exhibition have been inundated with submissions of artwork to be shown and the new premise has provided space for them to do so.
The exhibition brought artists from across Hampshire together as it offered them a way to showcase their art for free, as well as sell their work to the public.
Volunteers at the gallery hope to entice artists in all creative areas including music and poetry, through putting on live shows and performances for the community to attend.
With a wide range of styles and mediums, the exhibition has enticed a high level of interest from the community making it a popular place for people to meet and share their love of art.
Adam Oliver, joint founder of Genesis XWWX helped set up the original store in February and will continue to volunteer at the new building. He told us: “’All Our Own work’ was set up as a space for local artists to be able to express themselves and have a chance at getting their work seen by the public. It’s amazing how well we’ve been doing and how much interest we have had from the community.
“We’re hoping the new store will bring in more artists, and then, in turn more artwork. We want people to know that they can follow the creative route and we hope the gallery will help inspire them to do so”.
John Howse, known through his artwork as XWWX, also co-found the new art gallery where his work will be featured. He said: “We just want people to come down and be inspired by what we have to offer. There’s art of all natures, and until you are down here, it’s hard to understand just how powerful they can be.
“We’ve got artists coming from all around the city, county and the world so the amount we have to offer is just astonishing, it won’t disappoint”.
Local artist, Claire Heath, 25, studied Fine Art at Portsmouth University and now specialises in ceramics. She told us: “It’s been great having my work here; I’ve sold more than I thought I would. Normally people think of my work as disturbing but here everyone is accepting and curious of it, especially when they see me doing my live shows”.
Local musician, Lee Kislingbury, found out about the exhibition through word of mouth: “I found out what was going on here through other artists. It’s amazing what they’re doing for local artists and for the city. If I couldn’t show my work here, I’d have to pay hundreds of pounds for it to be shown for a week in a gallery nowhere near my home town. It’s great being able to showcase my work to my friends and family in the city”.
During April, the team hope to be able to hold private events in the gallery to help build awareness of its presence.
The gallery hopes to be open in May and welcomes members of the public to join in on the action.