Work begins to transform historic King’s Lynn building into an art gallery

Plans are in place to transform the Winlove building in King's Lynn into an art gallery. Pictured ar

Plans are in place to transform the Winlove building in King's Lynn into an art gallery. Pictured are Veronica Sekules and building contractor Sam O'Callaghan. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Work has begun to transform a derelict west Norfolk eyesore into a forward-thinking art gallery.

The Winlove Building, which stands just a stone's throw away from the Custom House in King's Lynn's historic quarter, is a 1930s workshop which has been empty for 20 years.

Now, after a lengthy planning process which ended in a revised version of the owner's original plans, the property is set to house contemporary art exhibitions.

Veronica Sekules, formerly head of education and research at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, has owned the 1937 property on Purfleet Street for two years.

'I am really excited that it's finally happening after waiting for it for so long and having so many battles to save the building,' she said.

Sam O'Callaghan, who works for the Norfolk Building Company and lives in King's Lynn, said: 'I love this town and being part of bringing this building back to life.'

The gallery, called GroundWork, will open in mid-July and start with two exhibitions, one of work by Roger Ackling, a Norfolk-artist and friend of Dr Sekules who died from motor neurone disease, and another by Richard Long, a sculptor and prominent land artist.

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Dr Sekules, who said learning materials will accompany the exhibitions, added Mr Long would showcase a drawing using mud from the River Ouse.

The owner, of Great Dunham, is becoming a 'charter champion' as part of a Woodland Trust campaign to highlight the importance of trees and said the gallery will showcase work from artists who care about experience of the environment.

'The whole point of art is to start people talking as well as looking.

'I think it's not a high-brow thing for me at all but for those people who think it as such, my door is going to be open to everyone and I am very happy to have a discussion with those people.'

The finished building will house a maisonette at first and second floor level, as well as an upstairs gallery which will sell crafts and jewellery inspired by the environment.

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