Art Collecting

10 exciting new things to discover at the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum | Pro Club Bd

The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham finally reopened to the public in July 2022 after a £500,000 refurbishment.

Featuring everything from a brand new gallery space to a vibrant new art cafeé, SoGlos rounds up 10 exciting new things to discover on your next visit…

1. The Wilson kitchen

Located on the ground floor, the Wilson Kitchen art café greets visitors with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and a selection of delicious cakes and pastries as soon as they step through the door. The vibrant café offers a small but excellent menu, ranging from delicious breakfasts to light lunches, with vegan and gluten-free options, as well as a children’s menu. There’s also plenty of seating in a variety of areas, from family-size booths to cozy couches, as well as quieter areas ideal for a working lunch.

2. The Sir Charles Irving Community Art Gallery

Established in 2020 with funds from the Sir Charles Irving Trust, the new Sir Charles Irving Community Art Gallery occupies a mezzanine level above one of The Wilson Kitchen’s seating areas. The gallery aims to support local talent by providing artists with an “affordable, high-impact” space in which to showcase their work, as well as offering assistance with exhibition planning. accessibility and interpretation; online and social media promotion; and the opportunity to sell works – applications for April 2023 to March 2024 are now open.

3. Body Beautiful: Diversity at the catwalk show

Wilson’s first major exhibition is the acclaimed Body Beautiful: Diversity on the Catwalk, created by National Museums Scotland. Showcasing inclusivity and body positivity in the fashion industry, the fascinating exhibition encompasses plus size, age, gender and disability representation and features clothing by Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Max Mara and Dries Van Noten, as well as the world’s first Little People mannequins performing, made from casts of the body of activist Sinéad Burke. Body Beautiful is at The Wilson until Sunday 2nd October 2022.

4. Break The Cycle Community Exhibition

Complementing the Body Beautiful fashion theme, Break The Cycle is The Wilson’s first community-led exhibition at Sir Charles Irving Community Art Gallery, showcasing upcycled denim garments created by people of Gloucestershire with the help of local designers Milligan Beaumont and Jussara Nuzaré were designed. Showcasing the incredible amount of resources and waste associated with making just one pair of new jeans, the exhibition features young people rejecting fast fashion, embracing second-hand purchases and creatively upcycling garments to transform them into uniquely high -Transform fashion looks with an eye-catching centerpiece made entirely from materials that were destined for landfill.

5. Foyle Learning Center

The newly refurbished Foyle Learning Center offers a fantastic venue for hands-on workshops. The Creative Explorers Summer Craft Club takes place from Wednesday 3rd to Wednesday 24th August 2022 and gives four to ten year olds the opportunity to get creative in artist-led workshops including a tour of the museum, mask making, painting and tie dying and more, including drinks and lunch at £25 per session.

6. Creative Craft Classes

Enthusiastic crafters can take a four-week course this September 2022 to learn how to make their own enameled jewellery. Artist and jeweler Josie Wickes guides attendees through the making, filing and polishing of metal jewelry and how to create beautiful enamel finishes on metal, while The Wilson curator Kirsty Hartsiotis takes attendees behind the scenes at the Arts and Crafts Museum’s collection guides to find inspiration for their designs. The course starts on Friday 9th September 2022 and costs £130 for all four sessions, all materials included.

7. Decorative Arts Collection

The Wilson has an extensive and internationally important collection of items from the Arts and Crafts movement, ranging from furniture and pottery to textiles and jewellery, many of which are re-displayed in a beautifully renovated gallery space with a hand-painted mural. Inspired by William Morris, whose quotes adorn the walls surrounding the gallery, the British Arts and Crafts Movement championed creative craftsmanship and was also conscious of sustainable production and conservation – with The Wilson’s collection incorporating a variety of techniques as well as a Variety of techniques shows documentation of the movement’s connection to Cheltenham and the Cotswolds.

8. The Makers’ Room

The Makers’ Space at The Wilson offers a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes processes of local artists and makers and introduces visitors to painters Mark Amis and Alex Merry, who are responsible for the spectacular mural that forms the backdrop to the newly exhibited exhibition Arts and Crafts Collection.

9. Bang the Drum sessions in the WOW gallery

Budding musicians can make a splash at the WOW gallery with Bang the Drum sessions from Wednesday 14th September to Wednesday 26th October 2022. From exploring instruments to learning simple beats and patterns, it’s ideal for little ones who enjoy making rackets – with tickets costing €5 each.

10. We are creators

As part of the We Are Creators program, The Wilson offers seven emerging and young local artists free space in its new third-floor artists’ studios, as well as access to exhibition spaces and a variety of creative opportunities during their stay. While places for 2022 are currently being decided, there is another way to apply in 2023 – with the full eligibility criteria available on The Wilson’s website.

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