February 20, 2016
We recently organised a morning of jewels and coffee in the gallery, which was a great success on many levels. The main prize for me was the feedback I got from first time visitors saying they had wanted to come in to the gallery but were afraid. Here we address some of the common misunderstandings about art galleries.  

A. Contemporary Art Galleries are intimidating. 
B. Everything will be really expensive.
C. There's not much choice
D. I will need to 'know' what I am talking about

Let's start with A. Conjure up this image; marble floors, mahogany desk with suited and booted blond, Blahnik heels, polishing perfect nails, studying you over the top of her glasses - is this what you imagine when you hear the words, Contemporary Art Gallery? Now think, rustic wooden walls, a spaniel, some 1960s spinny chairs, trainers, sunny light in all weather and you have our gallery. 

B. Expense. A large oil painting or a bronze is always going to be expensive, they are expensive to make, just like a car or a good suit. However, there are many entry points to owning art, the most accessible being ceramics and original prints. We have beautiful ceramics from £60. Ceramics make perfect special but affordable presents. We have a collection of original prints from £30. With a couple of plan chests arriving from Italy next week this selection of prints will be easy to enjoy. Over the years I have bought original prints by artists with "Provenance" by which I mean, an exhibition history and a fine art degree. The print above is an example of a gem I have found by a Portland Gallery artist. I've not got them all online yet, but here is a glimpse of original art by real artists for very little.  

C. Choice. We have masses of choice, we just don't bamboozle you by making it all visible at the same time. We work with interior designers and developers on large projects where they will be sourcing artwork for several rooms at once. With the vast array of art at our fingertips we can view a space and make informed suggestions. If you are looking for something, but don't see anything appropriate, let us know, we'd love to help. We have done entire hangs in the gallery of work called in specially to a clients brief which allows them to have real choice selected from a carefully curated edit of what's on offer. 

D. You have here a beautiful space in which to feed on some of the best of British art being made today. We will talk to you as much or as little as you like. Some people want the artist's life history, others want nothing. We will keep you company or leave you alone. We organise a number of events which allow visitors to come in with a crowd and be anonymous. One of the concerns people have is that they should be able to comment on the art and 'know what they are talking about'. Art is for all, just like music and dance. You don't have to know anything, it is made for you to feel, not to know.  If you like it, great. If you don't, fine. If you're not sure, keep coming back and enjoy the journey of working it out. Learning new things is one of the great mood enhancers.
Until you've been in you can't possible know what's here! The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday and there is usually a pot of coffee on standby. Come and say hi. 

About the author

Candida Stevens

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