Julie Brandon, Owner...
I have lived in Torbay since 1997 and have always had a love for art in all of its forms and if I wanted an ‘art fix’ I would generally head for St Ives, a place synonymous with art. I was sure that here in the Bay we probably had a similar abundance of creative talent but where was it, how to find it? What was it that places like St Ives had that we were lacking? What is stopping Torbay being for Devon what St Ives is for Cornwall?
I attended an ‘Open Space’ event in 2012 to try and get answers to some of these questions – ‘What is Torbay’s Cultural Future?’ Out of that event was borne Torbay Action for Art and from that has come the personal adventure that is Artizan Gallery
We have taken our inspiration from places like Birdwood House in Totnes and TAAG in Teignmouth. We aim to offer affordable space to artists either running solo exhibitions or working in collaboration with other artists. Exhibitions can run from 3 weeks upwards but primarily changing monthly, giving time for repeat visits but also creating a changing space for audiences to explore and return to.
Between the turn of the 19th and 20th Century Torquay was one of the most fashionable places in the world to holiday and be seen by ones’ contemporaries. The particularly mild climate, beautiful scenery and relatively easy access by road, made the town attractive to aspiring socialites and artists.
Some of the visiting artists exhibited at the Royal
Academy and had established reputations in the art world. There was also a locally based group of Devon born artists, loosely associated with the Vivian Institute, which housed the Torquay School of Art.
A group of these artists came together by way of an amiable and highly accomplished artist called Alexander Fisher who also worked as a pottery painter at The Terracotta Company at Hele Cross in Torquay. Fisher was a keen landscape painter and around 1911/1912, he set up his own gallery and studio in Lucius Street, Torquay. Here he exhibited his own paintings and those of friends and associates, who also aspired to become professional painters.
At about this time, a number of these locally based artists, many of whom worked by day in Torquay’s mushrooming pottery industry, grouped together calling themselves ‘The Artisans Art Society’. In order to develop this collective ambition, on 1 February 1912, a meeting was held at the School of Art and Alexander Fisher was appointed chairman of
the meeting group.
It seemed uncanny that the ethos behind us establishing Artizan in 2014 was a mirror of what the Artisans Art Society had in mind just over 100 years earlier in 1912 and even more uncanny that we should choose the same name, albeit a different spelling.
Although this group shortly after renamed themselves The Torquay and Devon Art Society we were excited to think that a founder member had
actually had a gallery in the very same street in which Artizan is located!
It was sometime between 1911 and 1914, (so around the time of the formation of the Artisans Art Society), that Alexander Fisher closed his gallery in Torwood Street and moved with his family to live and work at 24 Lucius Street. Here he continued to sell art and used a studio at the rear to give art lessons. He died in 1925 and was buried in Torquay Cemetery on 3rd July 1925 (Grave no 8278D). His daughter Miss Margaret Fisher continued to run the business at Lucius Street until the early 1930s.
So there we have a nice link connecting Alexander Fisher with art and Lucius Street where our gallery is situated today, and there you may think that the story ends but a little further research has revealed that in 1949 Lucius Street was renumbered and number 24 became number 7, placing Fisher’s Gallery in the very same building that we work from today!
We like to think that Alexander Fisher would approve of what we’re doing here at Artizan Gallery and that this unlikely coincidence is a good omen for our future here on Lucius Street.
With thanks to, John Tucker, Local & Family History Librarian, Torquay Library, for his assistance with our research.
exhibiting with us...
Artizan Gallery benefits from three beautiful display spaces which are available to hire for solo shows and group exhibitions.
The Main Gallery has been running since 2014 when Artizan first opened its doors and has played host to nearly 100 artists to date. Its signature blue floorboards make it a soft and welcoming space, and large front windows flood it with natural light whilst offering a valuable shop front display area. With around 17.5m of wall space, this is the perfect venue to host a retrospective, display an expansive series, or house a small group show.
In 2017 we launched two new spaces. The Garden Gallery was previously a café but at the end of 2016 we took the choice to remove the chairs and tables and renovate this, creating a new exhibition space. With 14m of hanging area, large rear facing window and access onto our small courtyard, this is a charming space suited to any level of artist.
Finally, our Basement Gallery first launched in 2017 but has undergone various developments throughout the year. The space offers extensive display space for 3D works and is targeted at artists and creatives looking to exhibit sculptural works, ceramics and pottery.
opportunities and bookings...
Every year we offer a number of exhibition opportunities in the gallery and at other venues. These range from solo shows, to opens, to pop-ups, to fairs so there really is something for everyone no matter what your professional level.
Links to all of our upcoming opportunities can be found below and you can sign up to our newsletter to make sure you never miss a chance to show with us.
At the Gallery, we are able to offer a range of professional services to support artists and their work. For more information on any of our services, get in touch!
space hire & external events...
All of our spaces are available to hire for events outside of standard opening hours. The Gallery offers a sophisticated and unique venue for hosting formal and informal functions for everything from private parties to launch events. We have a fully licensed bar and external catering can also be arranged. We are also able to provide pop-up exhibitions at external venues to complement events from garden parties to gala balls to provide a unique experience for guests.
design & photographic services...
Our promotional materials from posters, to brochures are all produced in house and we are happy to extend these design services to artists to produce a full range of marketing tools to support exhibitions and shows. We are also able to provide a variety of photographic services for archival purposes, reproduction prints or for capturing events and exhibitions.
Our sister site Arthub offers a variety of tools for artists to work and collaborate online. We are able to offer managed accounts here for a small additional fee, handling content updates and e-commerce and shop services.
Working with local Torbay packaging and delivering companies, we are able to offer fully insured couriering of works to anywhere in the UK and some international destinations.
curation and exhibition management...
As well as hosting exhibitions at our own venue on the English Riviera we also curate and manage public and private external exhibitions throughout the year in a variety of spaces. If you manage a space and are looking to bring a show to your venue, or have a specific concept you need assistance to deliver, we can offer a range of services to assist with calls, promotion, curation and design. Alternatively, if you’re an artist looking to run a show or series, or an individual looking to host a private exhibition for an event or function, we can offer this same assistance.
As well as hosting a vibrant and regularly changing calendar of monthly exhibitions, Artizan also manages a number of permanent collections and represents artists on a long-term basis. Each of these relationships is unique but is based upon provision of a number of vital and high-quality services from the Artizan Team in exchange for the commitment to become an Artizan Artist! For the duration of this relationship, the Gallery will serve you and your art; whether you require print management, digital services, online and social media promotion, or more hands on hanging, stewarding and exhibition preparation, we’ll be there to support you. You’ll also get access to a range of exclusive exhibition opportunities available only to Artizan Artists along with a wide range of further support through our corporate membership network.
We actively look for artists to join us through those who exhibit with us and our wider activity in South Devon. However, we also welcome approaches from interested artists who would like to be considered. In the first instance, enquiries should be made by submitting your details along with a detailed artist statement and portfolio of work.
We are immensely grateful to the businesses who choose to partner with us through Corporate Membership and who realise the positive opportunities that come from engaging with and supporting community arts. Through your association with the work we do, you demonstrate your commitment to cultural development in Torbay and benefit from a raised profile as a patron to the arts. As well as this, we offer a wide range of valuable opportunities to recognise your support.
Your support helps us promote the work of local Torbay artists and the wider artistic community. We act as a small, central hub for the visual and performing arts, offering space to community groups, workshop leaders and creatives to deliver and share their work. Your sponsorship goes towards improving our offer to these individuals as well as helping us deliver our annual calendar of exhibitions. It also helps us to develop new programmes and initiatives to further support this community including provision of workshop spaces and artist studios.
If you want to find out more about corporate membership options with Artizan Gallery, please get in touch to find out how you could help support local arts or download a copy of our Corporate Membership brochure here.
our current patrons...
In 2019, we were excited to welcome Cavanna Homes as a Patron of the arts in Torbay. Their kind support will enable us to deliver the "My World" Student Art Exhibition in October of this year and we are exceptionally grateful for their commitment to arts and the community.
"At Cavanna we value local our local community and endeavour to support personal expression, culture and the arts. We are most interested in championing the work of local talent and budding artists. We are proud to be able to adorn our walls with the art from Artizan and artists from our local community."