The sentinel gallery was the mass project of potter Pru Green. What lay on the Chapel Road site originally was a St John’s Ambulance hall; long ago the space was used for meetings for the Scouts and the local choir. Wivenhoers vaguely planned to refurbish the site into a local cinema but sadly were unable to fund the project, resulting in the abandonment of a once loved public space.
In 2011 Pru Green purchased the site and the first planning application was submitted. To demolish the originally building in favour for a sleek, post-modernist build combining her own living space, workshop and public gallery. This was only made possibly after selling her Park Road property; many will remember visiting her exhibitions held in the living room of no.5 and pondered, not only the beauty and richness of her work, but how on earth she produced it in such a confined space. Having already played host to exhibitions of local East Anglian artists, Pru felt ready to reproduce this on a larger public scale.
The architect was Laurie Wood & Associates and has created a truly modernist building, despite controversy among some Wivhonians, we believe the sleek design adds cultural diversity to an already thriving small town.
After years of planning permissions being submitted and rejected, in 2014 the gallery was finally given the go-ahead and the build began. Acceptance was based on the terms of putting on a minimum of six exhibitions a year and that the build would eventual give back to Wivenhoe as a society as a public venue.
Having exceeded our exhibition programme the gallery also hopes to host live music evenings, artist talks and workshops available to the public.