Firstly, Jerwood prices. Was motivated to write this because of a very sensible letter in this week's Observer, saying that the Jerwood's membership prices were too high. The admission prices have always felt too high to us - the Not Value For Money alarms sound loudly, but I thought I'd just do a bit of research. Nearly all the galleries listed here have been visited either by me, the Philosopher, or both of us together, and we know they are either similar to, or bigger than, the Jerwood, with more significant collections. Some are private, some started as private collections but are now in public hands. I have not included major city galleries.
Firstly, the Jerwood prices for comparison (am ignoring membership for now): Adults £7.00, concessions £5.00, local residents £2, free evenings for local residents once a month.
Next, galleries with free admission: Towner Eastbourne, Turner Margate, Tate Liverpool, Whitworth Manchester, Lowry Manchester, Walsall New Art Gallery, Wallace Collection, Saatchi, Whitechapel London, Arnolfini Bristol, Lady Lever Port Sunlight, Barber Institute Birmingham, Burrell Collection Glasgow.
Paying galleries: Courtauld Institute, London: £6.00, £4.50, free to unwaged, students and under 18s. Dulwich Picture Gallery, London: £5.00, over-60s £4.00, other concessions free. Tate St Ives: £6.50, £3.90. Penlee House Penzance: £4.50, £3.00, free on Saturdays. Pallant House, Chichester: £9.00, £5.50, free all day Tuesdays and Thursday evenings.
So, this does not make our Jerwood look that good, with only the Pallant Gallery charging more - but with more free days. I know it is not a genuine market issue - people are not going to turn up in Hastings and say, 'ooh, that is too expensive, lets go to Eastbourne instead', but people will decide not to visit.
We have seen people hovering outside the Jerwood and not going in because of the prices. Hastings residents can get in for £2, but speaking for ourselves, there is not enough in the gallery for us to go repeatedly, but we would like to go when friends come and visit us - but then they have to pay full price...
The gallery often looks quite empty. Worrying, because we really want/need it to succeed for Hastings. In our view, they either need to hang more pictures in there, and change them round more often, or they need to charge less.
Less of the culture, let's stick to the Zumba. I went for the first time this week, to a Zumba 'Gold' session, run by Traci at the Ore Community Centre. Phew, it was tiring - and Gold is supposed to be easier - and it was quite hard to keep up with the steps - first it was Salsa, then tango, then swing, then Bollywood. Good fun though, great Latin music - and it only cost £4 for a whole hour. This is me below - I wish....
So - we are off on holiday for a week, so blog will take a break. We are going to Italy, to Sorrento, staying in the Hotel Tramontano, perched on the edge of the cliff. We have been before and loved it. You get down to the beach on a lift cut down through the rock. It is very old-fashioned and historic - apparently the song 'Return to Sorrento' was composed on the hotel terrace. Poor Digby the cat has gone into a cattery - both Philosopher and me felt very bad, as he has so recently come from the RSPCA.