As someone who loves art and spending times in galleries, I'm really lucky to have Firstsite where I live and even luckier to have them as a client. I've mentioned before that it's one of our favourite places to spend a Saturday, taking in their latest exhibitions and perusing the excellent shop (a brilliant place for presents for all ages!) and it's also a really wonderful place to work, with a truly fantastic team. It still feels odd to say things like this but it feels a very safe place to be, too, in these continuing strange times, as it's so spacious and all precautions are taken to ensure visitors are kept safe, without impeding the visitor experience.
This year was particularly special as not only was it the tenth anniversary of Firstsite's opening, but their outstanding programme and exceptional work in the community was recognised by being awarded Museum of the Year by the Art Fund! Over the year it has been wonderful to photograph many of the events, openings and celebrations at Firstsite. I wanted to share a few images with you here and recommend that you pay them a visit if you're able, or explore their online resources if you're too far away. They have just opened 'Life with Art: Benton End and the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing' and 'Simon Carter and Jevan Watkins Jones: Shore Lines', and '@background_bob and his amazing friends – guess who’s back!' continues until 9 January. They also have a new Sculpture Park, which is exciting, and until the end of the year they have a fantastic outdoor skating rink, which was so much fun to photograph last week! Holiday Fun is back for families over Christmas and their Cinema shows some more unusual films, too.
This year the ice rink features a new surface specially designed for, and used by, professional athletes and is at the rear of the gallery for easy access to hot drinks and cake afterwards!
2021 was Firstsite's tenth anniversary, and they held a big party in September with a Ferris wheel, plenty of fun activities and delicious food!
Bloomberg New Contemporaries opened in September, presenting the work of 75 emerging and early career artists from UK art schools and alternative peer-to-peer learning programmes.
Michael Landy's Welcome to Essex exhibition opened in June, exploring, celebrating and questioning the recent history of Essex and its contemporary portrayal in popular culture. Essex Man (after Collet) and The Essex Way are both still installed, welcoming visitors to the gallery.
Art for Life: An exhibition made with key workers opened in May, allowing visitors to discover different perspectives of the pandemic and reflect on their own in this poignant exhibition.
The café had a colourful makeover earlier in the year, too. The coffee is great and I still recommend the chocolate cake!
I highly recommend visiting if you can, or exploring online if you can't!
Lewis Gardens, High Street,
Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH
Telephone: 01206 713 700
Email: [email protected]
Opening times: Exhibitions, cafe and shop open daily 10am - 5pm.
Cinema screenings & scheduled events continue into the evenings.
Hi, I'm Jayne Lloyd, a professional photographer based in Essex. If you would like to speak to me about working together please don't hesitate to get in touch. I'm also Project Manager at Shutter Hub, a photography organisation providing opportunities, support and networking for creative photographers worldwide. If you'd like to get involved in that, you can join us here.
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