Portsmouth moving its image from seafaring to artistic

Portsmouth art exhibition Unusual spaces in the city are being turned into galleries for local artists

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Portsmouth is nationally recognised as a naval port, for its maritime heritage and as home to Lord Nelson's flagship.

Now the city council wants to promote a new image of the United Kingdom's only island city as a thriving arts centre.

Kathy Wadsworth, Portsmouth City Council said: "Our image is how Portsmouth might have been 50 years ago, we've got a lot of work to do."

Underground talent is being supported with the hope that the city will build up a name for itself as a creative haven.

Despite budgets cuts, with the local creative movement growing, the city council has continued to give grants to some arts projects.

"We have over 40,000 people employed in the creative industry sector which is on a par with Birmingham or Brighton and Hove," said Ms Wadsworth.

"To date it's been more undercurrent, we want to make it more overt and encourage more business to start up in that sector."

Portsmouth Council wants to develops the city's creative side

Local artist and Portsmouth University lecturer, Claire Sambrook said she felt the reduced funding to the city's arts organisations will not stop the creative scene growing.

She said: "I think the creative movement will seek new ways to showcase their work, whether that's an impromptu exhibition on the beach or using the street. You don't need to have an exhibition in a gallery."

In a bid to keep the art scene growing on a minimum spend, the council have put unusual spaces, rarely open to the public to use.

Recently the city's 500 year-old Round Tower has become a gallery where local artists can display and sell their work.

Miss Sambrook said: "We're incredibly lucky to have access to such an unusual building and to open it up to the people of Portsmouth for them to use and enjoy."

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