Art in the Café: call to arms

Press Release: 07/05/2008

A call to arms to join Art in the Cafe

The walls of the Courtyard Café at Winchester Guildhall will soon display an array of artwork - so if you’ve got creative flair you want to share we want to know.

Exhibition space is much sought-after in Winchester, and it can be difficult for local artists, especially young people, to find somewhere prominent to display their work. For just this reason council staff, with the support of the Mayor of Winchester, have been working hard to create a new display space in the centre of town.

Mayor of Winchester Cllr Chris Pines said: “There is an abundance of artistic talent among Winchester’s young people and we want them – and all our creative students - to start showing it off to a wider audience. The Guildhall has been the setting for lots of youth events during my term as Mayor so seems the ideal location for an exhibition space of this sort.”

For many years the Guildhall housed a gallery, which was last year replaced with City Space at the new Discovery Centre. It also provided a temporary studio for textile artist Alice Kettle as she created her giant commission for the Discovery Centre extension.

Guildhall Manager Ian Folger said: “Each week hundreds of people pop into the café and many of them used to stop to enjoy the gallery artwork. By creating ‘Art in the Café’ we hope to draw even more people in, and at the same time create a more relaxed and cultured ambience.”

Four exhibitions are planned over the next year, including one aimed at the many students and parents who pass through the Guildhall during the graduation ceremonies in autumn.

The exhibitions will be co-ordinated by well-known Winchester artist and lecturer Alex Hoare who will curate and manage the Art in the Café scheme.

The theme for the summer exhibition is ‘Summer Streets’, which will run from May 27th – August 2008.  Exhibitions are planned for the autumn to showcase graduate work, and a festive display of decorations crafted by local artists will be available for sale from November – December. From January to April 2009 an exhibition exploring our fascination with ‘Tea Time’ is planned.

The work can be in any media but must be able to be easily wall mounted and the maximum size is 100cm x 100cm. The deadline for submissions is Monday 19th May.

Over the next few months the Café will be refitted with modern lighting – more fitting for an exhibition space – and with new, comfortable, furniture.

Art in the Café will run as a trial for one year and will then be reviewed.


The Guildhall Gallery space is now home to the City Council’s Historic Environment Centre which provides a range of services to the public, including access to the City Council’s popular photographic collection; identification of archaeological finds; schools loan packs and resources, and interrogation of the district’s Historic Environment Record.