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New Andover art gallery and community studio bolstered by council grant

Unity Art is a new gallery and studio situated in the Chantry Centre, taking up residence in the vacant unit that used to house the clothing store Animal. It has been launched by artist Caroline Perkins who has been awarded an Independent Retailer Grant of £1,000 from Test Valley Borough Council.

Caroline’s background is working in children’s services for a Cornish local authority which involved a lot of community engagement. She has a Fine Arts degree from the Winchester School of Art, and wanted to create a gallery space for Hampshire artists while developing studio space where artists can be seen at work. The community is invited to use the space and she is working closely with the council’s Arts Officer, Test Valley Arts Foundation and Andover Chapel Arts Studio to enable this.

Caroline said: “I am excited to fulfil a long-held ambition which combines art and community-involvement interests. My key area is multi-media combining paint with print, model-making and installation. I am grateful to the council for the grant it is a real boost.”

Councillor Iris Anderson, who presented the cheque to Caroline, said: "This is a fantastic venture and I am excited for Caroline in accomplishing her ambition with the creation of Unity Arts, and her passion to embed art in the community is an asset to the town. I wish her the very best of luck for the future."

As part of the council's strategy to support Andover and Romsey town centres, the Independent Retailer Grant is available to encourage new independently-owned retailers to take up vacant space.

These funds have become available to the community as a consequence of the council’s prudent investments, financial management and the use of the New Homes Bonus.

For more information about the council’s grant schemes, visit