A Night To Remember | John Hansard Gallery Grand Opening

Arts Ambassador and 3rd year English and History BA student Gabi Gurycz writes about the launch of the University’s new John Hansard Gallery featuring opening exhibition ARTIST ROOMS: Gerhard Richter

Image: Arts Ambassadors Shanelle, Nicole and Louise with Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England

The opening of John Hansard Gallery is the most exciting thing to happen culturally to Southampton since Southampton Celebrates in February, which saw the gallery with neighbour and film organisation City Eye open for Sampler, a week-long taster programme, alongside the opening show, Shadow Factory at Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s new venue NST City right next door. All three organisations are now located at Studio 144, an exciting culture destination in the centre of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter.

On Saturday 12 May 2018, John Hansard Gallery threw open its doors permanently to the public and now joins NST City in Guildhall Square.



Arts Ambassadors Ben, Gabi, Doria, Shanelle and Nicole at the opening of John Hansard Gallery, 11 May 2018. Photo Jamie Harris

It’s safe to say I’m not the only person excited about the new gallery. The Friday evening’s launch saw Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council give the opening speech and praising regional galleries such the Hansard for bringing world-class artwork to communities outside London. Councillor Satvir Kaur, Southampton’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure gave an impassioned speech about the importance of art and spaces including the John Hansard Gallery in making art accessible to a wider range of people from across all backgrounds and how the beneficial venues like these are for the good of Southampton. Professor Alex Neill, Vice President for Education at the University of Southampton expressed how arts and culture is at the core of the University’s values and its delight in extending into the city and opening up the gallery for students and the public alike.


The opening exhibition ARTISTS ROOMS: Gerhard Richter (12 May ‚Äď 18 August 2018) itself is a marvellous treat.¬†Its a¬†solo exhibition of visual artist Gerhard Richter, whose work is displayed in major public collections like MoMa in New York, Chicago, across the world and now in Southampton. Colourful and joyful, but also pensive and thought-provoking, it truly has the capability to appeal to all. It features the striking 4900 Colours (2007) (which is exactly what you think it is) in a new, never displayed before, combination, along with works directly from Richter‚Äôs own collection, such as the stunning and psychedelic tapestries Abdu, Iblan, Musa, Yusuf (2009)‚Ķ.

Gerhard Richter, 4900 Colours (2007) Copyright The artist. Photo / Copyright Steve Shrimpton

It was so rewarding to be a part of the grand opening event, and to contribute even in the smallest role to the success of the gallery’s reopening in the city, and indeed¬†I’ve¬†no doubt that it will continue to be throughout the duration of the exhibition. Talking to everyone at the event, there is so much hope and drive for this space and for culture in Southampton. Everyone involved in whatever capacity it may have been, Arts Ambassadors like myself, lecturers, invigilators, artists, and anyone across¬†a wide variety of fields and backgrounds, are all so thrilled and passionate about this exhibition and space. Southampton‚Äôs culture has a bright future ahead of it because the people that bring art to Southampton have so much drive and vision for it that it will only grow and grow.

ARTISTS ROOMS: Gerhard Richter is on display at John Hansard Gallery 12 May ‚Äď 18 August 2018. Admission is free and a dynamic events programme accompanies the exhibition. For more information and opening times, visit jhg.art

Arts Ambassadors is a paid opportunity, supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Excel Southampton Internship programme, University of Southampton.

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