Chester Visual Arts, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HX – Visit Now
Founded in 2016 by Cynthia and Ian Short, Chester Visual Arts (CVA) is a charity that has brought world-class exhibitions to some of Chester’s most iconic buildings.
In addition to Grosvenor Estate, Chester Cathedral and The University of Chester, Cynthia and Ian have worked closely with the Victoria & Albert Museum to put on pop-events which prove that there’s a demand for a permanent public art gallery in the city.
Pop Art in Print, their first collaboration with the V&A, brought together an international collection of pop graphics, featuring artists Andy Warhol, Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. To attract such an internationally-renowned exhibition to The Old Library on Northgate Street was a major achievement and inspired further takeovers of Chester’s public buildings and spaces.
In 2018, Liz West’s Our Colour Reflection brought visual arts to a wider audience, with an immersive exhibition in The Chapter House of Chester Cathedral. Speaking at the time of the event, the artist explained “I want to see it in a place of worship, where people go and spend time and maybe look at it differently than when it’s in an art gallery context…the more you look at it, the more time you spend with it, the more you see.”
Chester Visual Arts teamed up with the V&A in 2019 for another exhibition at The Old Library, this time exploring how our lives are defined by digital technologies. Chance and Control – Art in the Age of Computers featured work by pioneering digital artists such as Frieder Nake and Georg Nees, right through to the younger generation of creatives. The event also included early work by Paul Brown, who attended art college in Liverpool, and Desmond Paul Henry, who lived and worked in Manchester.
CVA’s passion for the arts has cemented Chester’s reputation as a cultural centre for the North West and there is clearly an appetite in the city for more permanent exhibition spaces.
The charity continues to develop its plans to put on quality events, support artists and encourage community engagement, with more projects to be revealed in 2021.