MODERN art lovers are celebrating the opening of a new gallery in Weymouth.

The Art Asylum gallery, upstairs at Brewers Quay, is for anyone who wants to produce art and anyone who wants to buy art at affordable prices.

Curator Felix Thompson said the special opening weekend, including live music and artist demonstrations, was a hit.

“We had some really good feedback. When I first started the gallery people said you will never sell contemporary art in Dorset.

“Now people are saying it’s what Weymouth and Portland needs,” he said.

Felix, a builder by trade, originally got into art as a hobby.

He said: “I was working in civil engineering and I got fed up with working 90 hours a week.

“The plan was to move down here and do more with my art.

“But I got fed up with going into these stark white galleries containing three unaffordable pictures being looked down at by people.

“I moved to Weymouth from Bedfordshire two and a half years ago and looked at getting my work into a local gallery.

“It was very expensive and I found I couldn’t afford it.”

Felix said he ended up taking the upstairs space in Brewers Quay by chance.

“It happened by accident. I went after a small space in Brewers Quay and ended up getting a huge space.

“I’m doing something I love. I’m taking all the pretence and rubbish out of art work.

“Hopefully people realise that art doesn’t have to be pretentious, it can be affordable.”

There are around 15 artists displaying their work in Art Asylum with styles ranging from photography, cameos and stone and bone carvings.

Felix said: “We want to give the artists space to showcase their art.

“The gallery works as a co-operative and we want to make it affordable for the artists.”

Plans are in the offing for a children’s workshop and a graffiti competition in Hope Square.

Art Asylum is appealing for sponsorship from local businesses and would like to hear from any artists who wish to get involved.

The gallery is open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Call in to see Felix or you can contact him on Twitter @ArtAsylumDorset