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Official opening of 133 King Street

9. June 2014

The new commercial art gallery at 133 King Street will officially open next week with a free exhibition of original prints by internationally renowned artists, including David Hockney, Henry Moore, and Victor Pasmore, with paintings by Maggi Hambling.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust bought and sympathetically repaired and converted the 18th century former merchant’s house with attached warehouse, to create the new cultural gem, at 133 King Street.

Before the sensitive repair and conversion work, the grade II-listed property was used last as a shop about 15 years ago and was on Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s buildings at risk register due to structural issues.

The gallery will be officially opened on Monday, June 16 with a special show of prints and paintings on loan from David Case, former director of London’s Marlborough Fine Art Gallery, who is a trustee of the Diss Corn Hall.

Included in the exhibition – Prints at 133 – are works by artists with East Anglian connections such as Maggi Hambling, Michael Carlo and Norman Ackroyd, one of Britain’s most celebrated landscape artists. Some work will be for sale and any profits will be shared between the preservation trust and Diss Corn Hall.

As well as viewing these fabulous etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and screenprints, visitors can also look around the rest of the facility, which includes, for rent, a three-bedroom residential flat, a single-bed residential unit with studio, and three artists’ studios.

The official opening, by the preservation trust’s patron, Viscount Coke, and associated private viewing, is invitee-only. But the free exhibition will open to all from Tuesday, June 17 until Thursday, July 10, on Mondays to Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm.

After the opening exhibition, it is hoped to lease the gallery as soon as possible to a professional gallerist, to be run as an independent commercial enterprise.

David Case said: “It’s been a great privilege to be asked to curate this exhibition to mark the official opening of this fabulous new gallery and studios, which will provide a unique and exciting space in which to create and display art, further enhancing the cultural life of Great Yarmouth.

“Artists depicting landscape may not be fashionable, but in Maggi Hambling, Norman Ackroyd and Michael Carlo, I have chosen three excellent exponents, each illustrating an aspect of the East Anglian landscape – water, earth and sky – and each working in a different medium.

“The other part of the exhibition takes me back to my early contact with the art world and the work of Henry Moore and Victor Pasmore, and continues with successive generations, grinding to a standstill before the Britpack artists like Hirst and Emin.”

Invitation Card Prints at 133

Cllr Bernard Williamson, the chairman of the preservation trust, who is also the borough council’s cabinet member for transformation and regeneration, said: “This landmark project will both preserve a building at risk and further the regeneration of the historic King Street area.

“An appropriate end use is vital when restoring historic buildings. An art gallery and studios is ideal because it complements King Street’s emerging cultural character and because there is local demand for both a contemporary art gallery and cost-effective studio space.

“The trust is extremely grateful to David Case for loaning and curating this prestigious opening exhibition and also to all the funders, including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.”

Earlier this month, the first exhibition took place at the gallery, as part of the Great Yarmouth Arts Festival and the 2014 Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios. Curated by Katarzyna Coleman, it featured paintings, sculpture and photographs by Great Yarmouth artists.

Open Studios exhibition at 133 King Street

The project is part of the £4m Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme, an area-based conservation-led regeneration scheme for the King Street area, whose centrepiece was the refurbishment of the grade I-listed St George’s Theatre, which dates from 1714.

The THI scheme, led by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is funded through a number of sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the borough council.

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