Chichester Pride collaborates with Pallant House Gallery
On Thursday 30th June Chichester Pride took over Pallant House Gallery, as part of the Gallery’s Summer Lates programme. It was a fantastic evening of performances, talks and tours from both organisations and was the Gallery’s most popular Late event to date.
There was so much going on across the evening! In the beautiful setting of the Gallery courtyard, there were fabulous performances from local cabaret legend and co-chair of Chichester Pride, Dawn Gracie, tunes from musical theatre singer, Jeff Raggett, plus music throughout the evening from Pride’s DJ Lukah. Pride’s Co-chair Melissa Hamilton gave a rousing speech on the importance of Pride and the visibility of the LGBTQI+ community in Chichester and beyond, while upstairs in the Gallery, Philip Wilson-Marks gave a fascinating talk on queer history in the early 20th century. The night also saw the premiere of the film created to celebrate the May Chichester Pride and the exciting announcement of the next Chichester Pride on 27th May 2023.
It was wonderful to share the Gallery with Chichester Pride and to see new visitors enjoying the space. The Gallery’s mission is to share different perspectives on British art and encourage creativity in our audiences. This event gave us the opportunity to celebrate and tell the stories of the queer artists in our collection. While we discuss these artists through our online content, there is nothing quite like experiencing the art and its story in person!
In our temporary exhibition, Glyn Philpot: Flesh and Spirit (open until October 2022), there was a talk from assistant curator, Miriam O’Connor-Perks. She explored the artist’s sexuality and the many examples of queer imagery in his work. Despite being a relatively unknown artist today, Philpot was a leading artist in the 1920s and 1930s and painted many stunning images of men, some of whom were his lovers. Alongside this talk, there was a Pride Tour of our collection on the Bloomberg Connects app. The tour included audio from some of the committee members of Chichester Pride who explored their favourite works in the collection. There were also entries on queer artists such as Keith Vaughan, John Craxton, Duncan Grant and Howard Hodgkin. If you haven’t downloaded it already, make sure to check it out. You can even enjoy the tour from the comfort of your own home!
Visitors on the evening were also encouraged to create their own art. West Dean College hosted a fun shadow drawing workshop, resulting in a mural to commemorate the evening and the hard work of Chichester Pride. The activity allowed participants to express themselves by creating shapes through shadows, which were then drawn around by a friend or partner. The resulting mural is a rainbow of colours and fun interactions and will hopefully go on display in the city in the near future.
It is very important to the Gallery to work with local organisations and encourage diverse audiences to engage with our collections and exhibitions. Gallery Director, Simon Martin, commented: “We were delighted to host the first Summer Late at Pallant House Gallery in association with Chichester Pride, especially as it coincides with our major summer exhibition ‘Glyn Philpot: Flesh and Spirit’, an important figure in queer British art. Following the first Chichester Pride this spring, it is important for us to work together to create safe spaces in the city for our communities to meet together to socialise and to enjoy and discuss art. It was wonderful to have the celebrated gay novelist Alan Hollinghurst discussing his novels; cabaret performances in the courtyard garden; a free creative workshop; and so many people enjoying the app tours about queer artists in our collection. We look forward to working with Chichester Pride in the future.”
The Summer Late with Chichester Pride was a wonderful success with over 200 people visiting on the evening. It is an event that we hope to arrange again next year and is hopefully the beginning of a long relationship with Chichester Pride.
Written by: Matt Williams. The Digital Content Manager at Pallant House Gallery and a Chichester Pride volunteer. Photo credits: Christopher Ison