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READER LETTER: Tapestry Gallery: "Finding it a struggle to remain financially viable"

READER LETTER: Tapestry Gallery:

Tuesday 26 April 2022

READER LETTER: Tapestry Gallery: "Finding it a struggle to remain financially viable"

Tuesday 26 April 2022

The Guernsey Tapestry Gallery has exhibited the The Bailiwick of Guernsey Tapestry in St James since 2001; however, according to the Chair of the project, Ian Hunter and Trustee, Jo Warry, the project could unravel if another location isn't found:

"We are very grateful to The States for, in 2001, funding The Jenneth Fitzgerald Room at St James to display this Bailiwick of Guernsey Tapestry. We are equally as grateful to the many Friends of The Tapestry who funded the fitting out of the gallery and who, indeed, continue to support us through their membership of The Friends of the Tapestry.

"However, after 20 years, the pattern of tourism on the Island has changed and we are now finding it a struggle to remain financially viable.

"To keep afloat, we must increase our footfall and be more accessible to the casual tourist, rather than just the organised tour groups, as well as to the local passer-by. Sadly, despite signs, advertising and the excellent work of the Guernsey Information Centre visitors do not casually walk up the hill to St James.

"Our Tapestry, “made by the 'Bailiwick for the Bailiwick” demonstrates our community spirit, our creative abilities, and our unique environment as well as describing our rich historical past. We believe it is the only place in Guernsey where you can see a thousand years of Guernsey’s rich history. It is displayed in 10 spectacular panels with a very informative audio guide read by our very own Sarah Montague.

"The Trustees of the Tapestry have, over the past two or three years, in trying to find another suitable location and to secure the long-term future of the tapestry, been in discussions with The Guernsey Museum Services. During these discussions, we identified two ideal locations, Castle Cornet, and the Guernsey Information Centre. Unfortunately, States funding, for the necessary refurbishment of the Castle which would have allowed Guernsey Museums to provide a display room in the Lower Barracks, was withdrawn with no indication of when Guernsey Museums would be allowed to continue the refurbishment of their museums.

"The GIC’s future is in a state of flux with no one being able to give any indication of what the States have in mind for it, nor any timescale.

"The Museums Services are keen to assume responsibility for the Tapestry but, without a new location, cannot commit to any long-term plans.

"The Trustees are also exploring the possibility of finding a benevolent landlord within the town area, but this is not proving that straightforward, certainly without us being able to give them some indication of how long we would like be there.

"It seems to the Trustees that, if the States of Guernsey would allow us to move the Tapestry into the GIC for a period of, say four years, that would allow the Museum Services to continue with their refurbishment plans and that would allow them to free up the space in the Lower Barracks for the Tapestry.

"Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Tapestry, together with something like a display of Victor Hugo, was housed in the GIC providing a stunning backdrop for visitors to appreciate the beauty, heritage, and attraction of the Island? Other Tourist Offices in Europe and elsewhere use their offices as the shop window for their town or city, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do the same?

"In the meantime, we are a very active and passionate group of Trustees determined to fulfil our obligations and keep The Tapestry Gallery operating throughout the year for tourists and locals to visit. We have a new chairperson, Ian Hunter, and a new manager, Linda O’Leary. The Tapestry is currently open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through to Thursday until the end of October."

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