The Bargate becomes an art centre

Publication: The Daily Echo
Written by: David Newble

IT IS probably the most emblematic building in Southampton – a recognisable symbol for the city the world over. The Bargate, that magnificent medieval structure which was once the main entrance to the old walled city, is to get a deserved new lease of life when it reopens as a contemporary art gallery. Some £70,000 has been spent refurbishing the building converting it into “The Bargate Monument Gallery.”

The prestigious project has been paid for with cash from Southampton City Council and the South East of England Development Agency. The project will mean that the Bargate will take on a new role as the first port of call for artists and creative talent in the city. It will house exhibitions and will also be a place where artists can call in for advice and help on how to showcase their work.

The gallery is being run by the city’s arts organisation “a-space” and will open to the public on May 31 with a stunning new exhibition by Southampton born artist Sarah Misselbrook.

Sarah, whose work has already featured in exhibitions staged in the city’s Medieval vaults by “a-space” will be showcasing her work in a project called “Affirmation.” She said: “I want the viewer to be reminded of our fate, in the face of our ironic pursuit of that which is achievable due to our own material constraints.

“These concepts are embodied in figurative sculptural installations, photographic prints and canvases as well as moving image.” Southampton City Council’s Cabinet member for tourism and leisure Councillor Peter Wakeford added: “We are delighted that a-space are opening the Bargate.

“I know a lot of work has gone into the project.” The Bargate monument gallery will be open to the public from Wednesday, May 31. Hours of opening are 11am to 6pm Wednesday Thursday and Friday, 12 to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday. Monday and Tuesday, view by appointment.