Catmose Gallery in Oakham could close

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AN ARTS exhibition which is opening today at Catmose Gallery could be its last.

The governors at Catmose College in Huntsmans Drive, Oakham, decided to consult on closing its gallery at a meeting on Thursday because the grant associated with being a specialist arts school had come to an end.

The school intends to use the space to display pupils’ work and as a classroom.

Chairman of governors Mike Petterson said: “There is a financial issue with running the gallery and when we realised the funding was running out, we tried to run events there to raise money but we could barely break even.

“There are some governors on the board who have been there since the gallery first opened in 2003 and it is like our baby so we did everything we could to stop this from happening.

“We are very upset about this but it is a financial issue.”

Mr Petterson said the school had approached Rutland County Council to see if it could offer funding to keep the gallery open to the public. It is also willing to hear from any other funders.

Mr Petterson said the school would also occasionally run public exhibitions.

Principal Stuart Williams said affected staff were being consulted.

Mr Williams said: “It was with heavy hearts that the governing body of the college made the proposal to close the gallery in its current form.

“The gallery and its work has been an important aspect of our work as a specialist arts college. The grant that was associated with this status has ended and we are, as a result, no longer in a position to fund a community facility.”

He said the school, which became an academy in April, remained committed to promoting the arts.

An exhibition of paintings, craft and design inspired by the sea, opens today. The exhibition, which is called Coast, will be open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 2pm until August 20.