Bargate – open for business

Publication: Chamber of Commerce News

After many years of uncerntainty, Southampton’s most historic monument is to reopen to the public this summer. Funded by the South East of England Development Agency and with the support of Southampton City Council, the Bargate is being refurbished as a contemporary gallery. It will be known as the bargate monument gallery and is set to become recognised as the driving force of the creative industries within the City – as place where artistic talent can look for support and assistance as well as showcase their work. The a space arts organisation is responsible for the gallery and feel privileged to be custodians of such an important site.

Two chamber members have been instrumental in making this refurbishment happen. With their vision of the importance of this site to the city, Cassini the building contractor has ensured that every penny of the funding is used towards quality exhibition space and has sponsored half of all the labour costs. Harry Chagger, the Managing Director of Cassini, said, ‘As a Southampton resident and having my business based in the City, I know how important the site is and this was perfect opportunity for me to do something for the community.’

In addition Worksunit, the creative marketing company, wanted to be involved with the project and have sponsored a City Centre business meeting room – the perfect venue for busy business people to get together in a less formal atmosphere. Again, the company is Southampton based with their staff living in the area. Nicholas Gow Marketing Director feels that many businesses can gain considerable advantages in being involved with the creative industries and said, ‘Our company has definitely gained through this experience.’

The first exhibition called ‘Affirmation’ will feature new works by Southampton born artist Sarah Misselbrook www.sarahmisselbrook.com and is specifically designed for installation at the bargate monument gallery. With financial support from Arts Council England, Sarah’s latest works show both theoretical and practical development, further questioning the culturally inscribed body.