A COMMUNITY art gallery says it looks forward to welcoming back visitors as it prepares to reopen.

The Minories, which is located in High Street, Colchester, is preparing to reopen as soon as possible.

The art gallery, which is based in a historic Grade II listed building near East Hill and Colchester Castle, is closed while the Colchester Institute, which leased the building, prepares to hand the building back.

The Minories building is owned by the Victor Batte-Lay Foundation and run by the newly established charity, We are the Minories.

The gallery receives no external funding from local authorities and relies on fundraising and donations to be able to put on exhibitions, workshops and classes, and facilitate its community-led art projects.

A date for reopening is yet to be confirmed but the gallery, which will also house artists' studios and community space, is keen to get Colcestrians involved in their future plans.

However, in the meantime, the gallery is also planning on expanding to a premises in Colchester city centre, as it did successfully last year with a temporary space near Trinity Square.

We are the Minories says it hopes to open a pop-up gallery at the former Holland & Barrett shop in Colchester which has been closed for some time.

It is hoped the smaller gallery will make art more accessible to Colchester residents and will remain open after the main Minories building reopens.

Jade Fothergill, who manages the gallery, said: “We look forward to reopening the Minories, but we do not have a concrete date as of yet.

“We will be opening a temporary shop unit at the old Holland and Barrett unit at Long Wyre Street.

“We hope to open there within the next two months and can't wait to have a town centre presence again.

“We hope our pop-up gallery will make us more accessible and visible as we believe art is for everyone, and we look forward to welcoming the community into a dynamic and inspiring creative space.

“We want to raise awareness of our continued existence and the community programming we are doing.”

The charity also hopes to welcome new trustees to support the gallery.

Interested residents can email Jade at info@wearetheminories.com for more information.

For more information, visit wearetheminories.org/about and to donate, visit bit.ly/MinoriesFundraise