Refresh - spring arts programme at Chester's Watergate Street Gallery

9 March 2022

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Refresh – spring arts programme continues this week. The Watergate Street Gallery in Chester is hosting an inspirational spring programme of art, encouraging people to explore newly commissioned work. 

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: 

“We continue our programme of art exhibitions and events this week with Chester’s historic Rows providing the perfect backdrop for the city’s love of food and fashion. 

“This is a significant investment in cultural, community and visitor attraction activity welcoming residents and visitors to safely return to our high streets.”  

Food Glorious Food exhibitions 11 to 28 March

The White Garden room in the gallery is home to a stunning exhibition, Food Glorious Food, a celebratory and joyous show created by photographer Mary Hill and ceramist Simone Cobbold. 

Mary Hill’s exquisite photography looks at the food produced by small businesses and producers in Chester, and the value and beauty they bring to the city. Images are inspired by a love of food made with simple fresh ingredients such as fresh bread, cheese, flowers and garlic, which we often take for granted. Mary visited shops and growers and chose a selection of items to tell the story of Chester’s food in her own unique way. She focuses on food and drink that celebrates the contribution made by people in the city to a vibrant food and drink culture. 

Simone Cobbold’s Friendship Bowls use clay, creativity, and food to bring people together. The beautiful ceramics in the exhibition were created by groups of older adults in Chester at workshops with Simone, fueled by laughter, chat and tea. Culminating with a celebratory group lunch using the bowls they’d made; we can now all see their handiwork at this very special show. 

Saturday Girl About Town pop up studio – Saturday 12 March, 12pm to 4pm 

Exploring fashion and identity, international photographer Casey Orr brings some colour to the high street with her wonderful pop-up portrait studio. Don your best Saturday glad rags and have your free portrait taken. The best Saturday girl images will be shown in the Watergate Street Gallery later in April. 

Elizabeth Macdonald, Creative Projects at Watergate Street Gallery said:

“Watergate Street Gallery are delighted to be hosting these exhibitions to support the Refresh projects which relate directly to our art for wellbeing activities and events. We strongly believe in the power art plays in bringing communities together and its benefits to mental wellbeing and are working to promote this in 2022.”

Watergate Street Gallery is the region’s largest art gallery and was named Best Contemporary Art Gallery 2021 at the Northern Enterprise Awards. The gallery is a family run business, trading for over 25 years in Chester city centre.  It’s one of a few independent galleries with the capacity and flexibility to promote emerging local artists. Since opening, it has provided platforms to launch artists who are now household names such as Ian Fennelly, Leigh Lambert, Kerry Darlington, Dirty Hans and many more.  

This season of work is part of the Watergate Street Gallery Artist Network Programme. The gallery also runs a schedule of events to raise funds for art for wellbeing and workshops in its Creative Cavern space – making art accessible to the wider community.

Refresh brings together a Cultural activity programmes supported by Chester High Street Heritage Action Zone and the Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme, funded by Historic England. The borough-wide reopening and recovery programme is funded by the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant to the Council. 

Watergate Street Gallery, 60-62 Watergate Street, Chester, CH1 2LA

Free just drop in. For more information on the artworks and events visit:                                                                                                                                            
For more information or for interviews with the artists, please contact Mandy Martinez –, 07970 713966.

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