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WTM announce exhibition by global internet sensation Hercule Van Wolfwinkle: Pet Portraits

02 June 2021 12:36 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

WTM announce exhibition by global internet sensation Hercule Van Wolfwinkle: Pet Portraits 

Worthing Theatres and Museum are excited to announce that the Museum and Gallery will be reopening with four fantastic new exhibitions, including Pet Portraits by Hercule Van Wolfwinkle in the Garden Gallery from Saturday 22 May until Sunday 8 August.

Worthing resident Phil Heckels created an internet storm during lockdown under the alias Hercule Van Wolfwinkle with his self styled 'rubbish' Pet Portraits. What started as a thank you card to his parents, as an attempt to get his reluctant 6 year old away from computer games – turned into hundreds of pet portrait requests flying in from around the globe and raising over £78,000 for West Sussex charity Turning Tides. 

Turning Tides is now the biggest provider of services for single homeless people in West Sussex. With over 5,000 supporters, 300 volunteers and 140 staff, they provide real pathways out of homelessness and are committed to supporting people at every stage of their journey. The breadth of their services empower people experiencing homelessness to become confident and find the strength and belief in themselves to create a brighter future.

Lucy Knowles, Fundraising Manager, Turning Tides has said ‘Phil (aka Hercule Van Wolfwinkle), has not only achieved a phenomenal international fan base, he and his followers have raised a staggering amount in support of Turning Tides. It seems very fitting that his artwork will be celebrated locally at Worthing’s wonderful Art Gallery. We would like to send our heartfelt gratitude to Phil, and everyone who has supported Pet Portraits, because in turn you have also helped the hundreds of men and women in your community who have nowhere to call their home. The ongoing support Pet Portraits has garnered is truly inspiring. Phil has managed to captivate people’s precious pets but also importantly, shared his passion to support the growing number of people who are experiencing homelessness across the county.

This is Phil's first ever exhibition which opens on Saturday 22 May a week before the release of his first book Rubbish Pet Portraits on Thursday 27 May 2021. 

CEO Amanda O'reilly says ‘We are delighted to be reopening the museum offering the community access to a fantastic set of exhibitions, most with a local link, alongside an amazing programme of walks, talks and workshops. We have also been working hard behind the scenes and regular museum visitors should see some exciting improvements. We will continue to prioritise safety in all our venues, will be limiting the number of people inside the museum and continuing to implement additional safety procedures.

Initially the museum will be open Saturdays (10am-5pm) and Thursdays (10am-8pm). The exhibitions and permanent collections are free to view, however as a charitable organisation WTM welcomes donations which support their work bringing arts and heritage to Worthing. Additional safety measures remain in place throughout the museum and visitors are asked to wear masks in line with government guidance. 

For more information and to book event tickets visit or call the WTM Box Office on 01903 206206. 

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