Gem of an idea to keep gallery go­ing

FO­CAL POINT: Artis­tic duo take over ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre while owner trav­els abroad

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

THE fu­ture of a gallery re­garded as a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for ex­hi­bi­tions of works by Kent artists has been se­cured.

Over the years artist Joel Arn­stein has built up the rep­u­ta­tion of the West End House Gallery in Smar­den.

Fears that it would be lost when he de­cided to take time out to travel to South Amer­ica have been halted be­cause good friends and fel­low artists Bar­bara Spens and Jane John­son have agreed to take it over for a cou­ple of years.

Both women have spent most of their lives in the Smar­den area and when they heard Joel was go­ing over­seas they con­sid­ered it es­sen­tial that the gallery be re­tained as a fo­cal point of com­mu­nity life.

Bar­bara’s back­ground is in pic­ture fram­ing and Jane’s is in gems and she has worked in the jew­ellery trade for many years.

Now they have re­fur­bished the gallery pre­par­ing for a grand open­ing show fea­tur­ing work by Brian Ox­ley and Kaija Bul­brook from to­day (Thurs­day)

Jane said: “We will be show­ing mainly artists from the South East, with ex­hi­bi­tions through­out the year.

“At the same time, we will also carry a se­lec­tion of ce­ram­ics, glass, jew­ellery, tex­tiles and paint­ings and prints by other artists and aim to be the ideal gallery for both col­lec­tors and those looking for presents.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion will run from Thurs­day to Sun­day each week, be­tween 10am and 5.30pm, un­til May 4.

Pic­ture: Dave Downey PD1556100

Jane John­son and Bar­bara Spens, who have taken over the West End House Gallery in Smar­den while owner Joel Arn­stein is work­ing in South Amer­ica

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