• Gosport Play Gallery

A new project which aims to inspire a lifetime love of art and art galleries in preschool children opens its doors next week.

Gosport Play Gallery, which is part of Gosport Gallery in the town’s Walpole Road, is a new space where preschool children can learn, play and create through hands-on activities. The Play Gallery will give children the chance to explore colour, line, shape and texture, and they will also be able to create their own artworks, including sculpture and paintings. Budding young art lovers will enjoy playing with art by jumping on a gel floor to mix colours and create new shapes, walking on a tactile pathway, weaving on a giant peg loom, featuring in their own portrait selfie and making sculptures from metallic boulders or giant polydron play shapes.

The Play Gallery has been created by Hampshire Cultural Trust as part of a wider, collaborative project with Southampton City Art Gallery and St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington to increase awareness of and access to Southampton’s internationally renowned and outstanding collection of fine art. Its main aim is to encourage more families, in particular those with preschool children, to visit art galleries in Hampshire, and by doing so, to inspire children from a very young age to become gallery visitors.

In addition to the wide range of resources which will help children explore all kinds of different art concepts, the Play Gallery also showcases a selection of artwork from Hampshire’s Contemporary Art Collection, which is cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust.

The Play Gallery is situated next to the main Gosport Gallery, which is currently showing Southern Shores, an exhibition of marine-themed paintings drawn from the Southampton art collection. Southern Shores explores the region’s long and varied relationship with the sea through a wide selection of paintings, some of which have been conserved especially for the exhibition. Visitors to the Play Gallery will be able to view these works using periscopes, a fun and novel way for them to enjoy art.

The Play Gallery will be officially opened by Kenji Mathews, aged 3, who is regular visitor to Gosport Gallery, and the Mayor of Gosport on Friday 26 January at 11:00am. Children from Alverbridge Preschool will be guests of honour at the opening and will have the privilege of trying out all the activities before the gallery opens to the public on Saturday 27 January. The Play Gallery and Southern Shores are open until Saturday 17 March, entry is free.