Arts centre launches its last exhibition

A Norwich arts centre which will close at the end of the year has launched its final exhibition.

Featuring 20 of the best East Anglian artists from its 20-year history, the King of Hearts centre's last show is a celebration of all it has achieved over its two decades.

As the exhibition Twenty by Twenty was launched this week, it also emerged that a deal could be on the cards for the centre's medieval building to be taken over and kept open for the arts.

The Fye Bridge Street venue is due to cease operating by December this year, after its trustees unwillingly accepted defeat in its frantic fight for funding.

The charity's reserves were severely depleted after two years of recession, escalating running costs and major maintenance.

Drastic measures to cut costs proved insufficient to cover the deficit, and applications to charitable foundations were turned down, meaning the difficult decision to close had to be taken.

Aude Gotto, the founder of the King of Hearts, told the Evening News there had been 'serious interest' about taking on the trust's 105-year lease, but until anything was finalised she could not say anything further.

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She said: 'The King of Hearts isn't going to remain.

'Hopefully someone is going to take it on and run it for the arts.

'It's a beautiful building and it belong to the citizens of Norwich.'

For Twenty by Twenty, artists who have exhibited at the centre in the past were asked to contribute new works on a small scale.

The exhibition features 20 pieces of work by Jeanette Durrant, Derrick Greaves, John Kiki, Louise Richardson, Derek Morris, Vanessa Pooley, Laurie Rudling, Brenda Unwin, Zheni Warner and many others.

Paintings, prints, sculptures, textiles and mixed media are all included to reflect the eclecticism and high standards the gallery has maintained throughout its two decades.

Mrs Gotto said: 'The show includes some very well-known and established artists whose work will be shown alongside younger artists or those who are self-taught.

'We've always tried to offer a real mix of artists, from those whose names are known to those whose aren't, but the common denominator has always been quality.'

The exhibition will run until December 18. Admission is free and the gallery is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

More information about the King of Hearts is available online at

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