ACE announces major gallery cash

Arts Council England is investing £1.8 million directly in four major galleries.

The money will be used to enable the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, Birmingham Museums Trust and The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool will host, becoming national partners for the Collection, and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield to host 24 exhibitions over the next three years.

The exhibitions, which start in March 2016, will feature items from the Arts Council Collection. 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the Arts Council, and the Collection, which is biggest collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world. It contains nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists including major names such as Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Richard Hamilton. 

The first partner exhibition will take place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; At Home (19 March – 3 July 2016) and will comprise works by artists including Edward Weston, Richard Hamilton, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Christo and Sophie Calle, exploring the central role of the home in our lives. Yorkshire Sculpture Park will also present Transparency (25 June - 4 September 2016) curated from the Arts Council Collection, featuring works by Eva Rothschild, Angela Bulloch, Hayley Newman, Hiraki Sawa, Alice Channer, Garth Evans and Yelena Popova. 

Birmingham Museums Trust, another partner, will be showing Night In the Museum (The Gas Hall, Birmingham, November 2016 - February 2017) curated by artist Ryan Gander, which will provide a fresh perspective of the Collection’s figurative sculpture holdings. Prior to showing in Birmingham, the exhibition will premiere at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (16 July - 16 October 2016). Also showing in the autumn, One Day, Something Happens: Paintings of People, curated by Jennifer Higgie, will open at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne (15 October 2016 - 8 January 2017). Teasing out themes from joy and loneliness to storytelling and theatrically, the show will include works by Walter Sickert, Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton, Glenn Brown, Ryan Mosley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council Collection is ‘our collection’ – it belongs to the nation - which is why this investment is so important. Our partner galleries will be able to exhibit works from the Collection in imaginative ways, whilst developing exciting educational and digital programmes to enhance engagement this work across the country.”

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool said: “This grant award will enable us to increase our focus on developing a more sustainable modern and contemporary art programme, through a powerful series of exhibitions.”

Emma Morris, Executive Director at Towner, said: “Inclusion in this scheme will be a real game changer for Towner, enabling us to continue on our upward trajectory and gain real traction on the national and international stage.

Ellen McAdam, Director at Birmingham Museums Trust said: “This is an enormously prestigious programme and a great coup for Birmingham Museums.”

Peter Murray CBE, Founding and Executive Director at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, said: “We have enjoyed a close working relationship with the Arts Council Collection since 2003 when they launched the Sculpture Centre at Longside. We’re delighted to extend and evolve this association with the National Partners programme and look forward to introducing our diverse audiences to the Collection through a series of innovative and engaging exhibitions.” 



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