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Visitors welcomed back to cultural venues with world class exhibitions
Cultural venues in Southend are set to start reopening their doors to the public following confirmation by the Government that the country will enter step three of the roadmap to recovery.
Focal Point Gallery (FPG), Southend Central Museum, Prittlewell Priory, The Beecroft Art Gallery and Southchurch Hall have all been closed to the public since December 2020 due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions. However, following the Prime Minister’s confirmation that the country will enter step three of the roadmap, the Borough’s cultural venues will once again welcome members of the public.
The venues are set to reopen on the dates and times specified below:
- Southend Central Museum – Tuesday 18 May, 11am – 5pm
- Prittlewell Priory – Tuesday 18 May, 11am – 5pm
- Prittlewell Priory Visitor Centre – Tuesday 18 May, 10am – 5pm
- The Beecroft Art Gallery – Tuesday 18 May, 11am – 5pm
- Southchurch Hall – Saturday 15 May, 11am – 4pm
- Focal Point Gallery – Wednesday 19 May, 11am – 5pm
Focal Point Gallery – Focal Point Gallery will reopen to the public Wednesday 19 May with ‘Practice Makes Perfect’, the first solo institutional exhibition by Rosa-Johan Uddoh, exploring the relationship between childhood education and how popular ideas of the British nation are formed. From 22 May to 13 June, an outdoor public artwork by Mary Mattingly, ‘Vanishing Point’, comprising of a learning centre located on Southend Pier, and a floating sculpture moored in nearby waters responds to a changing climate, a co-commission with Metal Southend as part of Estuary 2021.
Janette Parris has also been commissioned to create a new site-specific work for FPG’s annual Bridge Commission, launching in July 2021. And local artist Emma Edmondson has been commissioned to create a public artwork, ‘Made from this Land’ in response to Southend’s rich brickfield history, which will be co-created with residents over the summer and launched this Autumn. Additional outdoor projects include the display of 39 banners running the length of Southend High Street from April to October 2021, presenting drawings, photographs, and text, by local residents on the theme of ‘Imagining a New Future’.
For more information regarding the Focal Point Gallery, including upcoming events, please visit www.fpg.org.uk
Southend Central Museum – Southend Central Museum will reopen to once again welcome members of the public to enjoy the fascinating archaeology, social history and natural history displays. The forthcoming exhibition ‘Wunderkammer: Southend’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ will open 21 August and promises visitors an opportunity to see some of the more unusual and intriguingly curious objects from the extensive collection.
The Beecroft Art Gallery – Following a recent refurbishment, the new look Beecroft Art Gallery will be presenting a number of fantastic exhibitions over the coming months. ‘All Kinds of Naughty’, a mixed-media exhibition produced by the Thames Group of Artists, will run from 18 May – 12 June. A commemoration of the singer-songwriter Ian Dury, the exhibition will bring together photography, paintings, ceramics, sculpture and live performance inspired by the songs and lyrics of Drury. The gallery will also be hosting ‘Rio y Mar’ (River and Sea), an exhibition featuring works by artist Alicia Paz and accompanying soundscape created by Michael Szpakowski. ‘Rio y Mar’ forms part of the Estuary 2021 Festival and will be on display in the Beecroft Gallery from 29 May – 7 August.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “Southend has a rich cultural history, which is a massive part of why people want to come and visit our town. I am delighted that we can now reopen these wonderful venues and reveal the plans to welcome visitors once again.
“We have some tremendous exhibitions coming up, with world-renowned artists having their work on show for our residents and visitors. We have so many spectacular venues, offering a variety of exhibitions to appeal to many different people and groups. With so many places to go and pieces to see, it’s no wonder Southend is becoming a hotspot for staycations.”
Visitors to the venues are reminded that safety measures will be in place, including social distancing, face coverings (unless exempt) and maximum groups of six people.
For more information regarding Southend Museums, please visit www.southendmuseums.co.uk
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