IT WAS a dream come true for artist Neeta Pedersen when she finally acquired her own gallery and the coronavirus pandemic is certainly not going to stop her.

For five years she had worked as assistant to Angie Osborne, who was running the Hop Art Gallery in the Star Brewery building in central Lewes, and loved everything about it.

When the opportunity arose, Neeta, left, obtained the lease and began the process of resurrecting what had always been an important centre for the artistic community, renaming it the Star Brewery Gallery.

The word went out and within a short period, the gallery was booked up to the end of the year. Then came the virus and the physical gallery was closed to the public before it had even begun.

Undeterred, within a few days, Neeta was working on switching to an online exhibition gallery. An expert in web design and on social media, Neeta was able to display the images, accompanied by biographical essays, portraits, videos and audio interviews.

The success of the site and the interest in the first exhibition, featuring three well-known local artists, has led to some healthy sales and praise from the participants.

On Friday, the Gallery’s second online exhibition features 20 remarkable paintings by Tom Walker, whose surrealistic imaginings are brought to life in pastel.

Entitled The Wanderer In Life Goes West this, Tom says, is his last show in Lewes before he and his partner move to Devon.

Neeta said: “I had just taken over the gallery in the Star Brewery and was very excited to be able to launch it with an amazing exhibition by the three exceptional artists Peter Messer, Andrew Fitchett and Tom Benjamin. This would have been the first time in years that they had exhibited their work together. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and sadly I was forced to close.

“But I felt in my heart that I could not allow myself to lose the gallery so I thought that, with my web design knowledge, I could build an online gallery and launch the opening show on the website instead which proved to be a great success. I will now also be showing online exhibitions of the work of the other artists who had booked in for a show in 2020.

“I also plan to have themed group shows open to a wide variety of artists. I want to offer viewers the opportunity to escape into the world of art and the imagination during these difficult times that are affecting us all.”

For more information and to view the online gallery, visit