Upstairs gallery is a real hidden treasure

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As the light streams in through the windows on a freezing cold, snowy day, it falls on walls of artwork all around me, such as landscape paintings and photos.

I am standing in Bridge Street Gallery, a treasure trove of local artwork found upstairs in the Rothwell Arts and Heritage Centre.

Despite having been there for nine years, there are still people who do not know the gallery is there, according to its co-ordinator, Christine Cocksedge.

But the gallery is not only very much there, it is also looking to extend its opening times and is desperately in need of more artists and more volunteer stewards to help make this happen.

Christine explained: “It is run by volunteers and we need more stewards so we can open longer hours. To keep the galleries alive we also want more artists too. Hopefully we will get some craft in or 3D artists.

“We have two galleries for general exhibitions, but if someone wants to hire a gallery for a solo exhibition or for a small group they can.”

With the displayed work changed every four weeks, the gallery likes to keep the exhibits fresh. The current offerings include a solo exhibition called Fiesta, by Gerald Porter, from Kingsthorpe, Northampton. Gerald has exhibited widely in the county and was also formerly the curator for schools at London’s Tate Modern.

Gerald’s colourful landscape canvasses were inspired by a trip he took to Brazil, as well as by music penned by composers such as Piazzolla and Gershwin (Gerald was inspired by the Cuban Overture). This display will continue until Friday, April 5.

Gerald said: “We are quite a restrained and cool country, but in a country like Brazil, with its food and music, people are much more lively and it is a vibrant environment; I have held that in my head for some time.”

He continued: “The Bridge Street Gallery is a brilliant venue. It is light, airy and I’m grateful to Christine for letting me exhibit here. Being able to bring my work together like this gives me a new perspective. You really get a chance to see how it all works together.”

Also on display in the general exhibition at the gallery is a huge array of work, including felt and embroidery by Maddy Wright, photography by Brian Dion, Chris Shaw and Annie Ford, and landscape paintings of Thornham Marsh in Norfolk, by Christine herself. Anyone interested in volunteering or exhibiting can call 01536 710180. Three months’ notice is needed for solo or small group exhibits.