Arts Council backing for major gallery expansion in Honiton

The Arts Council is to support an expansion of a Honiton gallery to the tune of �67,000.

The Arts Council is to support an expansion of a Honiton gallery to the tune of �67,000.In total, �135,000 is to be spent on phase one of ambitious plans for the Thelma Hulbert Gallery.The whole of Elmfield House has been earmarked for arts use now that register office has moved out of the building and relocated to East Devon Business Centre.East Devon District Council, which runs the gallery, will pay �68,000 towards the cost of creating more gallery space and developing a shop and cafe area.Extended opening hours and the appointment of a gallery development manager are also part of the plans.The council's culture champion Councillor Vivienne Ash confirmed the Arts Council's support at a press conference, held in the gallery.She said: "It gives me great pleasure to announce plans for a major enhancement of the Thelma Hulbert Gallery. Thanks to the Arts Council grant and with similar substantial funding from East Devon District Council, the Gallery can now expand into the whole of Elmfield House."The Gallery serves the whole of East Devon and attracts people to Honiton from far and wide. It is a focal point for the creative arts and I am proud that the District Council has shown such ongoing commitment to the provision of a public, high quality, modern art gallery. The excellent exhibitions and the important educational work being undertaken by the Gallery have now been recognised and endorsed through this substantial grant from the Arts Council."The cafe and shop will be a showcase for crafts and will sell jewellery, textiles and ceramics. A meeting room is also to be provided for local groups to hire.Future plans include the installation of a lift and disabled toilet facilities.Outbuildings are to be converted to provide a learning space and a new digital suite and film studio are to be created in part of the basement.Funding for the second and third stages of the development plan have yet to be found.Capital works will be carried out between January and March next year, with a new exhibition programme being launched shortly afterwards.