Suffolk auction aims to make The Bank with cash boost for arts in Eye

The Bank arts centre in Eye which will benefit from an auction next week. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Bank arts centre in Eye which will benefit from an auction next week. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk arts centre is preparing to relaunch itself with a special auction of some of the finest local artwork at the start of next month.

Inside The Bank arts centre - the cafe is especially popular. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Inside The Bank arts centre - the cafe is especially popular. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Bank at Eye has had a difficult few months. It was closed for four months between June and October last year – and has now been taken over by a new team of directors who are planning to expand its work over the next few months.

They are planning to clear some debt and provide it with a new cash to be able to expand the services it offers to local people.

Peter Brooke, one of the new team of volunteers running the centre, said the 77 items of art are up for auction which will put The Bank on a firm footing.

The directors were determined that it should be a centre with something to offer the whole community – not just traditional art forms.

Grey Head by Laurence Edwards - the star lot in the auction for The Bank in Eye. Picture: TW GAZE

Grey Head by Laurence Edwards - the star lot in the auction for The Bank in Eye. Picture: TW GAZE - Credit: Archant


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Mr Brooke said: “It is a centre that wants to look at the art in everyday life – to make it as accessible as possible.”

Since October The Bank has been open four days a week and it has been able to offer space for some arts groups and classes.

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But clearing the debts should allow it to open longer and take on staff to ensure it can offer a wider selection of classes and more opportunities for local groups to meet.

One of its most popular elements is The Bank coffee house – Mr Brooke said one of the challenges it faced was to persuade customers to visit and use other facilities at the centre or better start their own activities and groups.

Eye Town Centre by Peter Barter, one of the paintings in the auction for The Bank at Eye. Picture: T

Eye Town Centre by Peter Barter, one of the paintings in the auction for The Bank at Eye. Picture: TW GAZE - Credit: Archant

The auction is for people who have been invited only next Saturday evening – February 3 – but the items for sale will be on show between Wednesday and Friday when paper bids can be made. Anyone who expresses a genuine interest in buying any of the work will be invited to the auction which is being organised and sponsored by TW Gaze who have prepared an online catalogue which will also accept bids .

Mr Brooke said: “There are some exceptional pieces in the auction. One of the star lots is a bronze head by Halesworth sculptor Laurence Edwards which we hope should fetch up to £2,000.”

TW Gaze director Mike Sarson said the auction was important to the local community. He said: “As a local business we are delighted to help in a small way to relaunch this excellent project which serves the local area so well.”

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