Photography for Firstsite - Exhibitions, Events & Celebrations at the Art Fund's Museum of the Year

December 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

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.

 

Photograph of the exterior of Firstsite gallery in Colchester to the right, The rear of the Minories to the left with bedding plants in front and clear blue sky above.Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite ColchesterOpening event for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite Colchester, 24 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

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!


Photograph of the outdoor ice rink at Firstsite at twilight, lit with fairy lights and with a blue sky above with a tiny crescent moon.Ice Skating at FirstsiteIce Skating at Firstsite, Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

Photograph of people ice skating at Firstsite at night, with festoon lights around the rink, an adult in in blue smiling to the left, a child in a pink coat holding a whale-shaped support in the centre and a child on skates to the left, with other skaters behind.Ice Skating at FirstsiteIce Skating at Firstsite, Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

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!

 

Photograph of the exterior of Firstsite gallery in Colchester in the centre, a Ferris wheel to the right, The rear of the Minories to the left with bedding plants in front, members of the public walking, sitting and skateboarding.Firstsite's 10th Birthday PartyFirstsite's 10th Birthday Party, 26 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

A young child and an adult take part in a drawing workshopFirstsite's 10th Birthday PartyFirstsite's 10th Birthday Party, 26 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. A long line of people queuing on a lawn for a vintage-style Ferris wheelFirstsite's 10th Birthday PartyFirstsite's 10th Birthday Party, 26 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

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.


People stand talking and looking at art at Firstsite, holding drinks at an opening. A sculptural piece is in the lower centre of the image, on the gallery floor.Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite ColchesterOpening event for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite Colchester, 24 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

A person stands next to someone sat at a PC, playing a video game. In the background a painting hangs on a wall that is painted orange.Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite ColchesterOpening event for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite Colchester, 24 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. A person wearing a facemask looks at a sculptural piece of art on a shelf to the left of the image. A black and white photograph of a person by a grave framed with leaves hangs to the right.Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite ColchesterOpening event for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite Colchester, 24 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. Three people stand looking at a video artwork - the person in the centre is wearing headphones and the person to the right is pointing at signage about the piece.Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite ColchesterOpening event for Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Firstsite Colchester, 24 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. An adult and  young child in an alcove in the gallery. The child has headphones on and is looking at a wall-mounted TV screen.Community Fair hosted by Will Quince at Firstsite Colchester.Community Fair hosted by Will Quince at Firstsite Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

HRH the Duke of Gloucester visited Firstsite in early September and met members of community groups and artists @background_bob and Elsa James.


A photograph of Firstsite Director Sally Shaw, Background Bob and his dad smiling in the centre and HRH Duke of Gloucester to the right holding a book. Artworks from the Background Bob exhibition are on display to the right.HRH Duke of Gloucester visits FirstsiteHRH Duke of Gloucester visits Firstsite, 9 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. Photograph of Sally Shaw, HRH Duke of Gloucester, Elsa James and Marcos Blanes, with a signpost in the centre and a TV screen showing white text on a black background on the gallery wall behindHRH Duke of Gloucester visits FirstsiteHRH Duke of Gloucester visits Firstsite, 9 September 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

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.

 

Photograph of Michael Landy's Welcome to Essex, showing people including Michael Landy to the left, a yellow sign above a doorway saying ' WARNING This archive contains flash cars, big watches and false boobs' and a blue sign through the doorway says 'Essex Man has seen off socialism', to the right an essay is shown with the title 'Michale Landy's Welcome to Essex'Michael Landy's Welcome to EssexMichael Landy's Welcome to Essex opening event at Firstsite, Colchester, 25 June 2021. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. Photograph of Michael Landy at work cutting out a large hand drawn map, in the background a sign says 'Welcome to England's Most Misunderstood County'Michael Landy's Welcome to EssexMichael Landy's Welcome to Essex at Firstsite gallery, Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd. Portrait of Michael Landy in blue standing the Firstsite Welcome area, with 'Essex Man (after Collett) behind him.Michael Landy's Welcome to EssexMichael Landy's Welcome to Essex at Firstsite gallery, Colchester. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

 

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. 

 

Photograph of four people visiting the Art for Life exhibition, looking at artworks on blue walls. A person in the centre is holding their hands up with fingers outstretched, mimicking the glass fingerprints displayed on the wall above.JayneLloyd_FirstsiteGalleryColchester_8612 Two people wearing facemasks look at a painting of a barbershop scene to the right of the image. A rainbow is painted on the wall to the left of the frame.JayneLloyd_FirstsiteGalleryColchester_8829

 

The café had a colourful makeover earlier in the year, too. The coffee is great and I still recommend the chocolate cake!

 

Photograph looking towards the Firstsite café, with a glass screen to the left, the word 'Café' on a green wall above the counter and people sitting in the distance in the centre of the frame, with curved walls to the right.JayneLloyd_FirstsiteGalleryColchester_8860 Photograph in the Firstsite café, with green wall to the top left and back, tables with colourful chairs and cut flowers in glass bottles, and framed artworks along the wall to the left.JayneLloyd_FirstsiteGalleryColchester_8713

I highly recommend visiting if you can, or exploring online if you can't!

 

Firstsite

Lewis Gardens, High Street, 
Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH

Website: firstsite.uk
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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