Gallery bosses welcome Portsmouth dockyard’s ‘exciting’ arts plan

Visitors to Portsmouth Naval Base will be able to see a new heritage arts trail
Visitors to Portsmouth Naval Base will be able to see a new heritage arts trail
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PROPOSALS to create a new heritage arts trail in one of Portsmouth’s major attractions has been welcomed by cultural leaders in the city.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has unveiled ambitious plans to create a new, standalone arts display inside the Portsea-based site.

Bosses at the dockyard hope to commission paintings from local artists in a bid to boost the city’s cultural offering – and to offer something new to patrons visiting the location.

And the proposal is today being heralded by art leaders in the city, who say it will be a welcome addition to Portsmouth’s cultural scene.

Andy Buchanan, studio and programme manager at Art Space Portsmouth, is excited by the idea. He said: ‘This sounds like a really interesting idea and we would certainly welcome it.’

Joanne Bushnell, director of Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays, is part of the dockyard’s arts strategy and has seen the plan.

She claimed it would help boost other art hubs in the city.

‘It’s about developing a critical mass,’ she said. ‘The dockyard brings in a huge number of visitors already and is a critical part of the city’s tourism infrastructure.

‘This will help drive visitors elsewhere in the city like Aspex, Jack House Gallery and The Hotwalls Studios.’

Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, is behind the idea.

The aim is to have it up and running before the dockyard welcomes the revamped Royal Marines Museum in 2020.

The trail would run from the entrance of the harbourside attraction, right through past the boathouses towards HMS Victory and HMS M.33.

Prof Tweddle said: ‘Our vision is to be the world’s most inspiring naval musuem.

‘We have art inside the musuems and it’s mostly stuff that tells the navy’s story.

‘But we think we should be commissioning art from modern artists to reflect on the navy, its history and its current position.’

No date has been fixed for when the arts trail will begin.

Dockyard officials will look to develop the idea as part of the site’s ongoing arts strategy.

The scheme is part of the historic hub’s previously reported vision to reach one million visitors a year by 2020.

Last year the site reached a record 850,000 visitors.