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Friday 16 February 2024

Charleston Announces New Exhibition Community Workshops & Access Initiatives For Sussex Space

Charleston in Lewes, in partnership with Lewes District Council, is preparing to open its second season with new exhibitions, a larger programme of free activities for local families and schools, and new initiatives that will improve access for members of the community.

The new cultural centre on Southover Road, Lewes opened for the first time in September 2023 and has since welcomed over 30,000 visitors through its doors. 

Early research indicates three quarters of visitors have gone on to visit shops and other visitor attractions in the town, supporting a recent economic study that suggests the new space could bring 100,000 visitors to the district annually, generating £4.2million of new spend.

Following the extension of its inaugural exhibitions due to high demand, Charleston now announces the first of two new exhibitions that celebrate the creative force of partnerships this spring. 

Dorothy Hepworth and Patricia Preece: An Untold Story will be the first major exhibition to explore the extraordinary story of Dorothy Hepworth's life through her paintings - paintings that have previously been exhibited under the signature of her lifelong partner, Patricia Preece – Stanley Spencer's muse and wife. 

The exhibition explores the nature of the women's collaborative approach to making and selling work, an arrangement that fooled patrons and fellow artists including Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Augustus John, and Kenneth Clark.

Alongside new exhibitions, several initiatives are being introduced this season to make the new cultural centre as accessible as possible. 

There will be further Deaf-led BSL tours for the local Deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as Quiet Mornings to give visitors with additional needs the opportunity to enjoy the exhibitions at less busy times. 

Additionally, there will be monthly Pay What You Can days, taking place on the last Sunday of the month, ensuring the new exhibitions can be affordable to all.

Charleston will continue its partnership with Tenants of Lewes District to deliver free artist-led workshops for families during the holidays and will provide further learning opportunities for local children and young people from state-maintained schools and colleges including the East Sussex College Group. 

There will also be an exhibition of work made by pupils from the local Priory School with artist educator Tanvi Kant.
Nathaniel Hepburn, Director at Charleston, says: 

"We're thrilled to be presenting a second season in our new space in Lewes, following the success of our initial season of exhibitions and community work. 

"We are excited to be telling the compelling, and rather romantic, story of the partnership between artists Dorothy Hepworth and Patricia Preece. 

"It's an unusual and previously untold tale of creative collaboration, and queer love, which we think will capture the imagination of our audiences for its resonance with the Bloomsbury group – to whom these artists were known. 

"Our second exhibition continues the theme of artistic collaboration and will feature some familiar artist duos. 

"We are excited to build on the educational work we've started at Charleston in Lewes, and to further establish our partnerships in the community."
The new season at Charleston in Lewes, Southover Road, runs 27th March – 8th September 2024. CLICK HERE for more info.

by: Mike Cobley


Credit Andy Sturmey

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