Breaking Out in Haverfordwest

It was a pleasure to meet with Arthur Brooker and Tobias Newham , the other day, when we had overcome our initial Zoom challenges.

Full of beans, these two were preparing for a long afternoon on the latest Break Out of the Gallery event which is due to go on display in the latter half of June.

Beginning in 2016 and initially titled Breaking Out of the Gallery, the outdoor event brightened up Haverfordwest  for the next three years.

Back then, Arthur, himself an artist, was walking around Hafford on a dreary grey winter’s day. “I thought we really need some colour here and my initial thinking was to display my own work. I very soon realised it was a great opportunity to involve some of the many other creative Pembrokeshire people.” 

For Arthur, it very quickly evolved into more curating an exhibition of other people’s work than exhibiting his own. He loved it.

Arthur, hard at work

In 2019, Arthur and his crew took a break, involving themselves in other projects, planning to start up again in 2020. The pandemic had other plans for us all, but work on 2021’s Break Out of the Gallery is currently  well underway. 

I asked the lads how they fund the project and they explained that all the artworks are for sale and that the artists pay a commission. “Funding is always an issue but there are always conditions from most funding streams and we want to have control of this.”

We recently posted a press release from the team about how to apply to be involved  and this information can also be found on Facebook, the Break Out of the Gallery website and other social media sites, but word of mouth is always good in Pembrokeshire. Many artists will soon be busy working on new pieces for this year. “We have already seen some really exciting applications.”

I am curious about how the artworks stand up to the elements. Pembrokeshires climate is not always the kindest.

Tobias explained that Break Out Of the Gallery provides treated boards and that artists must use materials that have some resilience. “They have a month to complete and then it’s all varnished and framed.”

Arthur adds: “It’s always exciting when 70 pieces of artwork come in and have to be sorted.” It is clear that these guys love what they are doing. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

Past exhibition

I ask if they are only accepting paintings. 

“No ! This year  we are definitely open to any ideas. We would love some sculpture and have a few locations in mind. We need about 150 locations, not all of which will be used but they all need to be scouted out. There is a lot of knocking  on doors at potential sites to get permission.”

Will Arthur be exhibiting his own work and if so what sort of work does he create?

It seems that, with his other hat on, Arthur also works on events, another area that Covid has had a big effect on. “Most of my work is for events and is on a big scale. It needs to work in a context where lighting effects are really essential. I might put something in, but just organising this is a great opportunity and a pleasure. We have created a business with good intentions, and this year 2021 is going to be the best one yet.”

Breakout Gallery contacts:

@breakingoutofthegallery  ·  community organisation

07533 599997

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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