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Hall Place revamp: artist concerns

PUBLISHED: 13:07 15 November 2018

A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area. Picture: Sheila Ottley

A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area. Picture: Sheila Ottley

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A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area.

Sheila Ottley said she fears the “short sighted proposal” to merge Stables Gallery with a new shop - plans that the council revealed last month - will have a detrimental effect on artists and art in general in the area, which she described as “loved by local artists and residents alike.”

She said: “There was a time when the arts in Bexley was up there with the best.

“I should remind you that we have a long, distinct history when it comes to creative influence.”

She added that the plans to reduce the exhibition space are “an attack on a local community gallery.”

“What has happened to our borough that they no longer support the arts?” she said.

“We should recoil that the area’s libraries no longer allow art exhibitions and local artists have to go to neighbouring boroughs to exhibit their work.”

A Bexley Council spokeswoman said that making better use of the current space at Hall Place is “vital” to ensure that the house and gardens are accessible to all.

She added: “The majority of the existing wall display space at Hall Place will still be available when the new shop is created.

“Local artists will be able to use the newly created retail space to display and sell their arts and crafts.

“A new more flexible hanging system will enable a much quicker turnaround of exhibits when items sell and will mean that we can feature more individual artists and not just arts groups as currently.

“Both Erith Library and Sidcup Library offer display areas that can be used by local artists or arts groups.

“London Borough of Bexley is also providing additional exhibition space and increased access to the arts, by supporting cultural and heritage partners such as The Exchange, Erith.”

She said the council would like to work with anyone who has ideas for how to showcase arts better, and told anyone who does to get in touch via email at hallplacefunctions@bexley.gov.uk.

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