Chester Visual Arts (CVA) is a registered charity established to bring visual arts in all its forms to the people of Chester and the surrounding region.

The result of 6 years of planning, CVA now works alongside Cheshire West and Chester Council to support the region’s larger heritage and visual arts strategy.

CVA is governed by a Board of Trustees, comprising established business and arts professionals from the region. Through strategic partnerships CVA has presented four well-received international exhibitions in just 18 months.

Its current partners include Grosvenor Estate, Chester Cathedral, Marketing Cheshire Cultural Destinations, The University of Chester, and the V&A Museum, London.

“We share the Chester Visual Arts team’s vision for what could be achieved in Chester.”

– Dr Catherine Pütz, Head of Touring Exhibitions, Victoria & Albert Museum

Aims

CVA aims to make its work a permanent part of Chester and to enhance the city and the region as a better place to live, work and visit.

To achieve this, we have established a regular programme of quality events and exhibitions which will lead to Chester becoming recognised nationally and internationally for the visual arts.

CVA’s ultimate aim is to secure a permanent home within the city, as a creative visual arts centre and public art gallery of international standing. 

Chester has a proven appetite for culture, as well as an established population of practising artists of national and international standing. However, there is a clear gap in high-quality visual arts provision in the region. Chester Visual Arts is beginning to fill this gap. Building on our early successes, CVA has made swift gains in developing a local visual arts audience, and it is developing a vibrant visual arts culture for the region.

In 2019, CVA launched its learning programme, placing long-term emphasis on providing stimulating cultural and educational experiences for the wider public and young people. This includes accessible workshops, talks, school visits and tours, as well as digital activities. 

CVA has already made a significant impact on the region, achieving a number of impressive milestones, including:

+50K

Visitors attracted to our exhibitions in total

15,000

Visitors attracted to our first exhibition in 2017


Securing a 5-year exhibition partnership with the V&A Museum in 2018

Agreeing a strategic partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council

Establishing a collaborative partnership with the University of Chester

Building a small professional freelance management team

Presenting its first learning programme in 2019

Creating job opportunities within the local and regional arts economy 

Reanimated the vacant Old Library building in the city centre

Developing strong relationships with international/national arts leaders, artists and galleries

Support CVA

Chester Visual Arts is a registered charity, and previously has been almost entirely funded by philanthropic gifts from individuals, including significant donations from its Board members.

Recently, it secured support from Arts Council England and key local trusts to carry out its 2019 programme – an important recognition of the quality of its work and ambition. CVA has also benefited from an exceptional amount of voluntary and in-kind support for its work, from Board members to gallery invigilators.

However it cannot continue to operate on kindness alone.

CVA must now develop a wider network of partners and secure sufficient funding to safeguard its achievements, manage transition and continue its work. As the charity becomes established, it will develop a diversified plan for income generation. Over the medium-term this will include securing support from the public sector, local and regional businesses, private individuals, and charitable trusts whose aims are aligned with CVA’s.

How you can help support CVA