The Menier Gallery has provided invaluable support to Paintings in Hospitals for over a decade. The charity simply couldn't exist without it. Stephen, the Gallery Coordinator, gives us a little glimpse into its history, its present and its future...

I joined the Paintings in Hospitals team just over two years ago and, as Gallery Coordinator for the Menier Gallery, my role is to oversee the smooth running of the many exhibitions and events that take place in our two striking gallery spaces.

The Menier Chocolate Factory is a beautiful Grade II-listed building and former home of the Menier Chocolate Company. Built between 1865 and 1874, the brick and stone building was used to manufacture chocolate in a time when it was frequently used as a medicinal product. (Not sure you could get away with that one now...)

Exterior of the Menier Chocolate Factory building

Exterior of the Menier Chocolate Factory

Production at the factory ended after the Second World War and the building slowly fell into dereliction until around 2004, when we arrived. The Chocolate Factory now houses a theatre, rehearsal spaces, artist studios, several arts charities, including Paintings in Hospitals, and the Menier Gallery.

As Paintings in Hospitals doesn't receive Government funding, it has always needed to raise a considerable amount to continue its important work. The Menier Gallery innovatively supports the charity's fundraising efforts: every penny that hirers pay to use the space goes towards Paintings in Hospitals' mission to inspire better health and happiness for people in care.

An old poster for the original Menier Chocolate

An old poster for the original Menier Chocolate

The Gallery hosts a wide-ranging programme of exciting art exhibitions, over fifty in 2016 alone: from 20th Century greats like Prunella Clough and Keith Vaughan to cutting-edge emerging artists. We currently work with several prestigious arts societies, schools, studios and collectives. Earlier in the year, we worked with emerging artists Marcin Gawin and Megan Crua to present an exhibition of recent drawings and paintings. Their work presented a shared interest in experimenting with mark making and materials. Most recently, we hosted the work of Slovakian artist Ena Ban. Her work included a display of paintings responding to contemporary culture, consumerism and digitalisation.

Work by artist Phillip White in the Menier Gallery's lower ground space.

Work by artist Phillip White in the Menier Gallery's lower ground space.

The Menier Gallery is available for hire and we are taking bookings for 2017/18. If you would like to host an exhibition or event in the heart London’s art scene, just minutes from Tate Modern and London Bridge, whilst also supporting your favourite arts in health charity, please do get in touch!

For more info, head over to the Menier Gallery page...