Chichester ArtsChichester Arts

Otter Gallery

Approx 0.9 miles from the centre of Chichester

The Otter Gallery is home to an extensive collection of art that includes works across all disciplines. The collection was started in 1947 when Eleanor Hipwell, head of art for the Bishop Otter College, acquired three paintings from an exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in order to display them in the University. Shortly afterwards, Miss K E Murray was appointed as a new Principal. Along with Eleanor Hipwell's successor, Sheila McCririck, Miss Murray pursued a determination to develop a collection of contemporary art that would inspire and inform the students of the University. The acquisition of quality work with inadequate monetary resources was a demonstration of Miss Murray's persuasive persistence. She was helped by the support of Bishop Bell, Chairman of the Bishop Otter College Council, and Walter Hussey, who arrived as the new Dean at Chichester Cathedral in 1955. 

Their support was vital in helping to promote acceptance of an acquisitions policy that included controversial and challenging pieces such as Patrick Heron's Black and White. As the collection grew, it was displayed throughout the College for the benefit of students and staff. Some of the outstanding pieces in the collection may be seen in annual exhibitions in the Otter Gallery and are on display as "Picture of the Month" in the Learning Resources Centre. From time to time items are on loan for display in regional, national and international galleries.

The Gallery also hosts up to ten exhibitions each year, which enhance knowledge of contemporary art through different media. These exhibitions offer opportunities for emerging artists to display their work in a public gallery and for established artists to provide examples of good practice and creative excellence to visitors and the students of the University. Artists exhibiting in the Gallery often provide seminars where students and members of the public can hear about and discuss the creation of the works of art on display. These are often carried out in association with the Fine Art Department which also has a research seminar programme.