Tributes paid to former Portsmouth arts officer Chris Carrell

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former city arts officer who 'brought culture to Portsmouth.'

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 4:36 pm
Chris Carrell. (Picture copyright Alan Wylie, 1989)

Chris Carrell who was well known among the city's art community, died on April 13 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, aged 80.

Born in Barnard Castle in 1941, Chris moved to Portsmouth in 1992 following 13 years running the Third Eye Centre - an arts hub - in Glasgow.

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He worked as arts officer for Portsmouth City Council from then until 2001 and made his mark with several cultural exhibitions and festivals.

Among these was the Europe in Portsmouth festival, which showcased European performers and artists, at which Chris gave Princess Diana a tour of the event.

There were also the Shock Waves festival - that merged the arts with quantum physics, technology and science-based industries - and Time Steps festival - that focused on the history of dance within the city.

In his time in Portsmouth Chris also worked to raise funding for the New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk and encouraged tourism to the Historic Dockyards.

Chris met his second wife, Carole, in 1994 and they married in 1996. He became stepfather to her children.

Southsea resident Carole, 77, thanked people for their messages over the past month.

She said: 'He will be greatly missed and mourned.

'When he moved here Portsmouth was known as a naval city but he really did bring culture and art to the city with all his projects and alongside his team.

'He had a huge impact on artists in the area.'

Portsmouth council's current cabinet member for culture, Councillor Steve Pitt, added: 'Chris made an amazing contribution to the cultural life of Portsmouth, was a popular and dedicated champion of the arts and our local community.

'I knew him from his time based at the New Theatre Royal and he was always a joy to work with and will be deeply mourned by many in the local cultural community.'

In retirement Chris became interested in biography and social history, recording several oral histories of servicemen, including his own stepfather.

He is survived by his second wife Carole, three children, four grandchildren, his stepchildren and his brother John.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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