An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Wymondham Arts Centre
2 Church Street
Email: [email protected]
An entirely voluntary Arts organisation that impressively hosts a summer full of varied exhibitions in Becket’s Chapel from both local and international artists across a diverse range of mediums and genres including local schools and arts societies as well as acclaimed professionals
Where to find it
Becket’s Chapel, a grade 1 listed, is in the old market town of Wymondham, next to the remains of the ancient abbey. It is the second oldest surviving building and dates back to 1174. The Wymondham Arts Forum, an entirely voluntary organisation, began leasing the building in 2008 to use as a gallery and for small musical and spoken word events. Since then each summer the chapel hosts a programme of exhibitions from March through to November that cover a broad spectrum of artistic styles and approaches offering something for everyone.
What to expect
The gallery comprises of a large room of exhibition display pieces under eves of the original vaulted ceiling and its wooden beam structure which provides an intriguing comparison of old (ancient church) and new (modern art). Each exhibition runs for a fortnight with closure on Mondays for change over of artists. There isn’t a house style but instead the centre aims to select exhibitors whose work is of the highest quality within their genre. As Arthur Lucas, director of the Arts Centre project says “our offerings are as varied as the artists in our region”. All mediums are considered and a diverse programme is shown each year.
Within a season you can expect to find photography, print making, clay, watercolour and gouache paintings, jewellery and fabrics, sculpture and ceramics. In encouraging new artists as well as providing a venue for established professionals, a diverse spectrum of talent is showcased. On my last visit, the internationally acclaimed Robin Welch ‘The Potter and the Painter’ exhibition was on - a master ceramicist in the UK and known throughout the world. His work, that spans over 50 years and has been on show at the Victoria & Albert museum, reflects a distinctive style of sculptural ceramic with an eclectic range of glazes that are transferred over to his palette in his canvas production too.
As well as global names, the gallery also welcomes local artists such as Kerry Buck, Liz Mace and Clive Brookes; Vanessa Pooley from Norwich is booked in this summer for her sculpture show, as are Seven Ways, a display of seven established East Anglia artists, and f8Group, a new Norfolk based photographic collective. Local schools also exhibit in a School Consortium, as does the Wymondham Art Society. Small classical concerts are held in the chapel during the music festival fortnight and poetry recitals from the Wymondham Words literary festival. In short the centre is a hive of activity from spring through to winter and every visit guarantees to deliver quality art in all its diversity; a culturally rewarding experience.
Wymondham Arts Centre is open March through to October, Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays 12pm -5-pm. In November it opens Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sundays 12pm to 4pm. Many of the pieces on display are for sale. For a full season programme of exhibitors and details of individual artists, please visit the Wymondham website at the address above.