28 October 2019
Visitors to the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery have been promised a world class experience as the £34.6million project was unveiled today (28 October) to give a first glimpse of the completed venue.
Anticipation is building in the final countdown to Saturday’s (2 November) public opening of Aberdeen Art Gallery, with media tours this morning showcasing the redevelopment of the historic site by Aberdeen City Council.
Aberdeen Art Gallery is home to work by important artists, designers and makers such as Henry Raeburn, Joan Eardley, Samuel Peploe, Rachel McLean, Bill Gibb and James Cromar Watt, as well as nationally and internationally-acclaimed artists including Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin and Claude Monet.
World renowned collections
Councillor Jenny Laing, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “From the outset the ambition was to create a world class visitor attraction and we are proud to have delivered that for the city and region.
“The redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery will serve generations of residents and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from at home and abroad each year, providing a fitting home for the world-renowned collections we hold. Saturday’s public opening will be a landmark occasion for Aberdeen and we look forward to welcoming the first of many visitors.”
What can visitors see?
The redevelopment, designed by Hoskins Architects, has 'dramatically increased' the amount of display space for the nationally recognised collection, with the number of galleries increasing from 11 to 19, with a further three galleries presenting a programme of regularly changing special exhibitions.
The number of items from the permanent collection on display has increased from 370 in 2015 to 1,080 in the redeveloped venue. Exhibition specialists Studioarc have been responsible for the design of the galleries, digital strategy and signage.
The project’s major funders are Aberdeen City Council, which has pledged £14.6m from capital funds, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a £10m contribution. BP has donated £1m to the redevelopment project, with the BP Galleries to host three national and international exhibitions a year, and the UK Government awarded £1.5m from the HM Treasury Libor funds to support the major renovations in the Remembrance Hall. The total from the ongoing public fundraising programme, which is supported by the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Development Trust, currently sits at £4.8m.
Visitor research has helped shape a fresh new approach to displaying the collection. The displays explore artists’ ideas and inspiration, their creative processes and the materials they use. A wide range of and media, the use of colour, hands-on interactives, music, innovative display methods and engaging interpretive information combine to create a range of experiences, moods and stories for visitors.
The 130-year old Category-A listed building and its streetscape have been re-designed to meet the needs of all visitors, creating level access throughout and a passenger lift in addition to accessible toilets.
Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1QF; website.
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(images copyright Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums)