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Doors close at Pewsey Gallery as owners struggle to make art pay

Written by Peter Davison on .

Pewsey GalleryPewsey GalleryPewsey Gallery is to close its doors, with the owners saying they could not continue to run the business at a loss.

In a letter to customers, Heloise Tofts and Sandra Sargeant said they had been manning the gallery without taking wages, and that the income generated by the premises was not enough to cover the commercial rent.

“We cannot thank enough all the volunteers (locals and artists) who have given their time and we could not have lasted this long without them. I hope you know who you are and feel appreciated,” they wrote.

“Unfortunately, we have not felt appreciated or supported enough by many other artists and feel taken for granted by locals who love the gallery in the village but too few come in regularly to spend their money.

“We do not have the footfall anymore in the village and this has steadily got worse in these times of austerity.”

The gallery opened in High Street in 2010, with the ambition of giving “aspiring artists, and local community groups an opportunity to develop their creative skills” and “an opportunity to exhibit alongside professional artists and craftspersons.”

Besides holding monthly exhibitions, the gallery also hosted talks and workshops.

It began with four directors, but one died and another moved abroad, and Heloise Tofts resigned at the beginning of the year, after taking paid work elsewhere.

The directors have promised to prioritise paying artists before the business folds at the end of March, and will be selling off shop fittings including plinths, professional hanging system, tables, chairs, and office furniture to meet other outgoings.