THIS week, we are shouting about an art gallery which has been supporting local artists in the town for more than years.

Swindon Artists’ Forum runs a gallery located in The Brunel centre, which hosts the original artwork of artists from the area.

“Anyone within a 25 mile radius of SN1 can become a member and display their artwork here,” said Andy Hubble, chairman of the Swindon’s Artists’ Forum.

“We don’t judge people on their standard, you just have to be a member to display your art.”

The gallery hosts a wide array of styles and mediums, including countryside and coastal scenes, portraits of famous people, animals, abstract pictures, sculptures and felt figures.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18 and costs £15 a year, or if purchased at the annual general meeting, £10.

“We also help and advise members on how to do the framing, how to be commercial in what they do with their art and give people somewhere to sell their work,” added Andy.

The 65-strong group dates back to 1997.

Richard Naylor, one of the founder members, said: “In the early 1990s the art community in Swindon suffered a number of defeats.

“It really was like an artistic desert.

"So the council sponsored a new art group, the Swindon Artist Forum, who together set up this gallery. By 1997 we were selling art in The Brunel centre.”

These days the gallery sees around 700 visitors each month.

Andy added: “Our other key aim is that we provide the people of Swindon with the opportunity to buy affordable art. We’ve got everything starting from a £1.50 handmade greetings card, which is someone’s own work, up to £500 paintings.

“People say Swindon is a working town and is devoid of culture. But it’s not.

“This gallery is unique. Most other art groups in the county have to hire a hall for a week or weekend to exhibit their work. We’re here seven days a week, 362 days a year for artists and visitors. This is a great place and there’s nowhere else like it.

“We display work from all sorts of artists, amateurs, professional or self-employed artists. Some have full-time jobs but paint in their spare time,” said Andy.

The group also run a mentoring scheme where they support a current art student at university.

“They’re being mentored by our gallery manager Simon Dennis, and get a screen in the gallery where their own work can be sold,” said Andy.

Over the years the gallery has raised roughly £21,000 for charity.

“We are a non profit group but we do charge a small commission of 15 per cent on any sale," Andy said. "Ten per cent goes to charity and five per cent towards running costs of the gallery.”

Future plans includes providing space for art therapy students to display their work as well Swindon College art students. The group is also looking to introduce trial lessons, felt making and upcycling workshops.

“There will be taster sessions where anyone can come along and try and hour’s worth of painting,” added Andy.