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Shire Hall protesters wear their art on their sleeves for colourful Stafford performance

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

  • FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BE ARTY . . . "Sam Monet" and "Lucien Van Gogh"

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AN ARTY pair put Stafford shoppers in the picture about the potential closure of the Shire Hall Gallery with a colourful protest.

The real-life artists, who appeared under the aliases Sam Monet and Lucien Van Gough, donned smocks, berets and facial disguises for their peaceful demonstration on Saturday outside the iconic Market Square venue.

They displayed a series of protest placards and invited passers-by to sign a petition calling for Shire Hall Gallery to remain open.

Sam said the duo had been overwhelmed by the support shown at Saturday’s event.

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“A lot of people were still unaware of the plans and very sad to find out what was going on,” she added.

The 18th century building, which formerly housed the town’s crown court, could be closed as part of Staffordshire County Council’s bid to save £109m over the next five years.

But the proposal has met with horror from residents and Staffordshire’s creative community, who are battling to keep it open as a public arts venue.

Alongside the art gallery, which is free to visit and features a series of exhibitions and creative workshops throughout the year, the building houses Stafford town centre’s library and a sensory room used by children with special needs.

Facebook group Save Stafford Shire Hall has gained more than 2,200 likes and more than 700 people have flocked to sign the online petition Save Stafford Shire Hall, which can be accessed at http://bit.ly/1aWTzAR.

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  • mrsdale  |  January 14 2014, 11:34AM

    Well done "Sam Monet" and "Lucien Van Gogh"! The gallery is one of the very best bits of the county and it must not be closed.