This month Four Culture celebrated with Southampton for the launch of Studio 144, the city’s long-awaited new arts venue. Coinciding with the press night for The Shadow Factory by Howard Brenton, the inaugural play at NST City, the weekend saw a civic celebration to remember, with crowds gathered to cheer the completion of the city's ambitious cultural quarter. 

Four Culture is working with one of the cultural partners, John Hansard Gallery – part of the University of Southampton – ahead of its official opening in May. Visitors were welcomed in to explore the new spaces that it shares with film charity City Eye and give a flavour of what is to come with its Sampler programme – a week-long mix of art, music, film, performance and words. 

It was also an opportunity to focus attention on the ambitions of the Gallery under director Woodrow Kernohan, with a series on one to one meetings and briefings. Reports in the art press including Art Monthly, Frieze and The Art Newspaper, have already begun to build the excitement, while the Telegraph was much taken with the Hetain Patel's eye-catching Fiesta Transformer.

John Hansard Gallery opens on 12th May, presenting a major exhibition by Gerhard Richter, working with Tate and ARTIST ROOMS, and additional extraordinary loans provided directly from the artist's studio. This commences an ambitious programme that combines annual keynote exhibition from artists of international acclaim alongside overlapping and parallel projects that showcases leading, internationally diverse and globally significant artists who are under-exposed in the UK. The full programme will be announced in the coming weeks, watch this space.