Critical Friends


The New Art Gallery Walsall ‘Critical Friends Group’ was established with a shared commitment to improving the Gallery’s services to ensure it remains as inclusive, representative of and as accessible as possible to the widest demographic of society, involving communities to thrive and experience ‘Art for All’.


A selected group of independent individuals with a wide range of skills and experiences, mostly from within the local community, meets regularly to discuss Gallery events, share ideas on audience development, encourage creativity – championing local and regional artists – and discuss the challenges affecting the Gallery.


Critical Friends provide impartial insights, identify improvement opportunities, provide honest feedback, assist the development of a positive environment for the delivery and nurturing of local creativity, contributing to the growth of the Gallery.


Pushpa Alexander

Pushpa has over 25 years’ experience in business, with a strong background in events, exhibitions, sales and marketing.  Within the Midlands she is known for her work supporting businesses and start up entrepreneurs with her ‘Women in Business’ and social media events.

Pushpa is a mom to three teenagers and has a keen interest in the arts and theatre.


Samuel Davies

Samuel is a father to four young children who love visiting the Gallery and taking part in activities.

Born and bred in Walsall, he is extremely passionate about this wonderful town, its inhabitants and helping to make it a safe, clean, friendly and educational place to visit.  Samuel is currently a part-time student, studying towards a Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree and aims to stand as a local Councillor one day.


Kathy Dowling

Born in London to Irish immigrant parents Kathy moved to the West Midlands 20 years ago with her husband and two children.

Before retiring Kathy was a Behaviour Mentor, currently she’s her mother’s carer.

Kathy has enjoyed many talks and activities at The New Art Gallery Walsall.  She likes to draw, write poetry and eat vegan food.


Charlotte Dunn

Charlotte is a freelance artist and marketeer from Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

Her artistic practice centres around a mix of art and science and she’s particularly interested in the representation of medical imagery to explain hidden illnesses to the sufferer.

She has exhibited for the NHS, as well as at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.


Jamilla Fazal

Jamilla, a mother of one, actively volunteers within the community.  She leads numerous groups – making connections within the community with people from all walks of life.   Jamilla enjoys building bridges, across the variety of cultures locally, by organising events that adapt culture to modern day life.

Being British born with a proud Pakistani heritage gives her the values she lives by today.


James Francis

James is an illustrator based in the West Midlands.  Growing up in Walsall, the collection at the New Art Gallery has been a great source of inspiration for him.  James is grateful for opportunities The New Art Gallery Walsall has given him to see and engage with contemporary art locally.


Anton Phipps

Anton (full title is actually Antonio) is a recently retired ICT Support Officer from the Sandwell MBC local authority.

He likes to visit art galleries and museums when time allows.  Anton hopes to assist the The New Art Gallery Walsall in moving forward with some of the plans and ideas they have to increase their footfall, as well as other ideas and plans for the Gallery now and in the future.