The art collection of the Arts Council of England is a well-kept secret. Even its website does not provide as much information as other galleries now show about the works in their collections. Yet this is a public collection, full of riches and deserves to be seen more. It does provide valuable and welcome loans for public spaces in public institutions, but would benefit from being seen more. The current initiative at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is something that could be developed further. For the current exhibition “From Downs to Sea”, a group of nine residents from Portslade and West Hove worked for a year with the curatorial team from the gallery and picked 26 artworks from the Arts Council collection to tell a collective and personal story of living between the Downs and the Sea. They have done well. This is a delightful exhibition, with a wide range of works ranging including seascapes by L S Lowry and Jeffrey Camp; rural scenes by Peter Doig and Edward Burra; and urban images by Carel Weight and David Redfern. It is well supplemented by sculptures by Leslie Thornton, Geoffrey Smedley and others. BriWell done to the Arts Council and to Brighton Museum and Gallery – this is an initiative that deserves to be repeated in other locations and with other themes, and also possibly in Brighton with other collections.
‘We were given the opportunity to work with Brighton Museum to choose art
work from the Arts Council Collection for an exhibition. We found many works
that spoke to us about what we experience in our daily lives, living on the
outskirts of a big city. This exhibition helps to tell the story of our home –
between the Downs and the sea.’
Residents from the Portslade and West Hove neighbourhoods