The Begining of the Star Brewery Gallery
'The Star Brewery Gallery has been at the centre of the art life of Lewes since its inception as the Star Gallery in the late 1980s. Over the ensuing years, under changing management and name, it has shown a huge range of artists and craftspeople including Paula Rego, Sir Hugh Casson, Christopher Le Brun and John Skelton to name just a few. I have consistently exhibited at the Star since its earliest days and have never found it to be less than an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Neeta Pedersen worked there for five years as assistant to Gallery Owner, Curator and Director Angie Osborne under its spell as the Hop Gallery. I feel she really understood the Gallery’s ambitious attitude to the arts without losing sight of its place at the heart of the extensive local arts community. I, and many others, were very heartened to hear that she was taking over after a short period when, under other management, it had diverged from this and had become lost to view for many of us. I feel she has all the right capacities to make the gallery a great success. In addition to her five years practical experience in the space, she is a respected and successful artist in her own right and a well known and popular member of the community.
Due to the current unprecedented health emergency, the timing of Neeta’s takeover could not have been worse but she is attracting enormous goodwill from artists and supporters. The general feeling is that if anyone has the character, resilience and will to bring the Gallery successfully back to the centre of Lewes cultural life, it is Neeta.'
'We were very disappointed when only a week away from the opening night, we realised the coronavirus crisis meant we would have to postpone the launch exhibition of The Star Brewery Gallery. To our amazement, Neeta refused to give in and within days, pulled together a very presentable online Star Brewery Gallery, worked out a social media campaign and launched the whole thing online and on time. The online Star Brewery Gallery has given me great publicity and healthy sales beyond my expectations. Neeta really has taken very good care of us and I feel very lucky to be represented by such a dynamic gallery.'
I was approached by Neeta last year to see if I would be interested in exhibiting in the opening exhibition of the Star Brewery Gallery along with Andrew Fitchett and Peter Messer. It wasn’t a difficult decision. Although we haven't exhibited together for some time we have had a series of shows together in the past and I admire their work and I thought it would interesting to do it again. I also have a long history with the gallery and had some of my first solo shows when Pat and Mike Cooper ran it. I have always liked the character of the space, its beautifully lit and you can get surprisingly large amount of work on the walls. I also had a joint show of mine and my late father's paintings, which was a special occasion for me as we never had the chance to exhibit together in his lifetime and it attracted a lot of interest.
It’s been a pleasure working with Neeta, we have had to be light on our feet as we've tried to keep pace with the rapidly changing restrictions imposed by the crisis. Neeta quickly thought of making the show an online event and we've combined in depth interviews, short films and images of the work to give people as rich an experience as possible. The response to the show has been tremendous and we are all committed to putting on a physical show in the gallery when we are on the other side of this challenging time.