Things are looking up for the Swindon Artists' Forum following a move out of the Brunel Centre to a new home in Regent Street. 

The organisation had been in the Brunel Centre for 21 years and during that time it has helped countless numbers of local artists display their work as well as raising £20,000 for local charities. 

But Swindon Artists' Forum's chairman Andy Hubble explained a new home was needed after the coronavirus pandemic saw visitor numbers plummet

"We used to have 15 people visit a day but post-covid we were lucky if we had 15 a week, every month we were being surrounded by units closing," he said.

Swindon Advertiser: Swindon Artists' Forum in its former Brunel Shopping Centre homeSwindon Artists' Forum in its former Brunel Shopping Centre home

He explained that despite the drop in footfall the rental demands for The Gallery shop remained the same and it was no longer viable for them to stay there. 

"Thankfully we found a premises at 45 Regent Street that seemed ideal."

"It was owned by Swindon Borough Council and had been empty for many years. We are grateful to Matthew Bennet from Swindon Council Commercial property team, who when we approached him in regards to the unit, was extremely supportive and knew it would brighten up that area and offer something different."

After 5 weeks of internal refurbishment carried out by the Swindon Artists' Forum team as well as structural work carried out by Swindon Borough Council the building was opened towards the end of April. 

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"We now have an outstanding venue, where we can continue supporting local artists and charities," Andy said. 

"We not only offer a professional setting for them to display their work, but can now offer classes to people aspiring to do art and crafts, and also studio space for artists to work in.

The organisation is already seeing the benefits of the move having acquired 8 new members who want to display their work there.

Andy added that it had also sold several paintings and pieces of craft, which range from unique lampshades, jewellery, handmade bears and greeting cards.

A shop sign will be installed on the front of the building in the coming weeks.

Andy said "We look forward to people coming in to admire the work on show and we're delighted if something is sold, as the artist receives a boost to their confidence. motivation and a local charity will benefit.

"We look forward to keep going for many more years."

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