A thriving art gallery set up in a disused Skegness retail unit has begun its latest solo exhibition.
Contemporary artist Steve Gould’s diverse collection of ink drawings, paintings and textured mosaics is the latest work to be featured at the H-Art Gallery in the Hildreds Centre.
Mr Gould says he has attempted to convey feelings and emotions in his work, which he hopes the viewer will be able to interpret in their own personal way.
He said: “The exhibition here is all about my art and the experiences I have had in the last 20 years of my personal life and each piece represents a different part of my lifestyle, from black and white pen and ink work to colourful paintings and eventually the exhibition piece which has been in the Made in England Tour.”
The Skegness based artist and many of his fellow exhibitors have praised the Hildreds Centre for transforming an empty shop into a cultural hub, which has attracted thousands of visitors and provided an outlet for local talent to gain wider exposure.
Mr Gould added: “We need to be promoting art in Skegness and this opportunity has created so much for the town and artists like myself.
“By having it in a shopping centre it’s made it accessible to all sorts of people from little old ladies with their shopping trollies to young children, whereas for many, art galleries can be quite elitist and off-putting.”
The gallery was attended by more than a thousand visitors on its first Saturday alone, which fellow exhibitor John Byford believes is a great accolade for the town.
Having toured around Europe with his Made in England exhibition, showcasing dozens of local artist’s work, including Mr Gould, he believes H-Art is helping to drive forward an emerging Skegness art movement.
He said: “There’s a growing art movement in Skegness and I think that’s a positive sign, not just for Skegness but for the whole area.”
Traders in the shopping centre have also praised the initiative for boosting and diversifying their customer base.
Jamie Sleight who mans the Sky stall outside the gallery says footfall has doubled since its opening.
“I think it’s bringing a different sort of clientele with people that would not usually come into the centre,” he said.
“It’s something out of the ordinary for Skegness and I think it’s benefiting everyone.”
Picture framer Paul Farby has also seen a boost to his businesses, with many of the exhibitors using his services.
He said: “I’ve been picture farming for four years and it’s amazing how many artists have come out of the woodwork since the gallery opened.”
Mr Gould’s exhibition runs until Monday, after which there are a number of other mixed and solo exhibitions featuring more than a dozen different artists planned until April 8.
Hungarian born artist Tamas Bakos, who will be exhibiting between February 22 and 25, has also praised the gallery’s organisers for creating such a great opportunity for people like himself.
He said: “I think it’s brilliant because the closest gallery used to be Louth or Lincoln so this is great for culture.”