Victoria Arcade’s Guild Gallery to close

Teddy Bears on display at the Guild Gallery.

Teddy Bears on display at the Guild Gallery. - Credit: Archant © 2010

A popular art gallery is planning to close its doors at the end of the month.

The management committee of the Guild Gallery in Victoria Arcade, Great Yarmouth said proposed changes in their lease meant they had to reconsider their position within the facility.

A spokesman from Conturer Ltd who run the arcade said they were surprised to hear of the news and said they had been in discussions with the owners of the Guild Gallery about them moving to another unit within the facility.

Around 30 artists currently exhibit and sell their art and volunteer stewards man the gallery.

It is currently scheduled to close for good at on Friday, October 28, although artists will begin removing their work the day before.

The Gallery was the brainchild of the chairman of the Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Maggie Dawson, in 2009.

Saddened by the number of empty units at the Victoria Arcade, she approached Great Yarmouth Borough Council and after negotiations with the then owners - who also own Market Gates Shopping Centre - she took a lease out on the shop.

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When she left the area in 2012, a new lease was taken out by Vivienne Rainsbury and Gillian Southgate.

Mrs Rainsbury said: “The Gallery has been extremely popular, not only with local people, but also with summer visitors, many of whom have made repeat visits, and over the past years, more than 20,000 people have visited, some just to look at and enjoy the beautiful work, and many to take away paintings and craftworks.

“The Gallery has exhibited a fine variety of first-class art and craft pieces, with paintings of landscapes and seascapes, portraits, wildlife and abstract subjects, and the crafts have included work in wood, metal and textiles.

“The Victoria Arcade has the potential to be a fine asset to Great Yarmouth, but recently a number of long-established businesses have moved out or closed down, although there are also currently some new shops opening.

“All the members of the Guild of Artists and Craftsmen who have exhibited in the Guild Gallery over the past seven-and-a-half years would like to take the opportunity of thanking everyone who has supported this brave venture, and all will join in the disappointment at the closure.”