The Art of Chichester: 60 Years of Creativity - major new exhibition

Sixty years of artistic and cultural achievement across the Chichester District will be celebrated in a new exhibition at Chichester’s Novium Museum this June.

David Elliott
David Elliott

The Art of Chichester: 60 Years of Creativity will explore the arts, culture and heritage of Chichester City and the district from 1962 — when Chichester Festival Theatre opened — to the present day, embracing professional and amateur work across all art forms.

Curated by David Elliott, the exhibition will tell the story of how the arts have put the city of Chichester and surrounding areas on the map.

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The exhibition forms a key part of Culture Spark 2022 — a season of events, performances, live entertainment and community projects being held to mark a year of culture in Chichester District, including: 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; 40 years of Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema; ten years of The Novium Museum and the Festival of Chichester; and 200 years of the Chichester Canal Trust.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to an Arts Council England Project Grant of £37,000, which will also enable a programme of community and public engagement activities. These will include a series of art workshops for children led by practising artists during the summer holidays, a series of creative family days and a lecture series for adults.

The museum is collaborating with charity Article 12 Arts on a series of creative workshops designed to bring marginalised young people from across the district into the museum.

The young participants, who will include asylum seekers supported by Sanctuary in Chichester, will be introduced to the themes of the exhibition and be invited to explore their own responses to identity and place through different artistic mediums. Artwork produced during the workshops will be displayed in a community exhibition at The Novium Museum from September 24.

Councillor Roy Briscoe, cabinet member for culture and community services at Chichester District Council, said: “The Art of Chichester exhibition showcases what has been an outstanding 60 years of cultural achievement for the district. The story of arts, culture and heritage reaches far and wide, and we hope that the exhibition and supporting events programme will help to inspire the next generation of creatives.

“We are grateful to the many organisations and individuals who are generously contributing to the exhibition, including Pallant House Gallery, the University of Chichester, West Dean College, and numerous local artists and makers. We are also thankful to Arts Council England for their generous support.”

An accompanying book written by exhibition curator David Elliott, also entitled The Art of Chichester: 60 Years of Creativity, will be available to buy from The Novium Museum’s shop — both in store and online:

The Art of Chichester opens on Saturday, June 25 and will run until February 25 2023, replacing the Brick Wonders exhibition, which closes on Sunday, June 5.

Admission is free with donations gratefully received. For more information please visit:

David Elliott was born and bred in Chichester and is an arts manager, curator, author, sometime musician and critic. During his career at the British Council, he has curated or produced over 20 documentary touring exhibitions ranging from Charlie Chaplin to contemporary architecture.

He spent 17 years overseas running the British Council’s arts programmes in China, Japan, Mexico and Thailand, and was awarded an MBE for cultural services between UK and China in 2013. He was creative director of the UK Now festival in China in 2012 and festival director of the year-long UK/Mexico 2015.

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