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Wraps come off historic Swansea art gallery's multi-million pound transformation

Leonardo da Vinci drawings and a Picasso masterpiece will be among the world class exhibits on display when Swansea's redeveloped and restored Glynn Vivian Art Gallery re-opens to the public on Saturday October 15.

Glynn Vivian art gallery

New spaces for touring exhibitions, collection displays, lectures and conservation works all form part of a project that has transformed the Alexandra Road attraction into a destination art gallery of international significance.

Other new features include a state-of-the-art extension to link the historic buildings, including the grade two listed 1911 gallery, which has benefitted from complete restoration and improvements to facilities and access. 

A new collection store for artworks has also been added, as well as a fully accessible entrance, café and shop area.

The multi-million pound redevelopment and restoration project has been funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Swansea Council, the Welsh Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Funding was also secured through the Building Enhancement Programme grant scheme run by Swansea Council and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The attraction is re-opening at 2pm following a colourful parade that will lead to the gallery through the city centre from the YMCA on Kingsway, which acted as an off-site base throughout the redevelopment works.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "The re-opened Glynn Vivian Art Gallery will preserve the wonderful character of the original building while transforming the attraction into a modern visitor destination that's fit for the 21st century, so our thanks go to our funding partners and groups including the Friends of the Glynn Vivian for their unwavering support.

"The combination of world class exhibits with stunning spaces for lectures, research, conservation and recreation will attract visitors from across the UK and internationally, while also making the arts more accessible than ever to many hundreds of thousands of Swansea residents in years to come.

"Great sensitivity has been shown throughout the redevelopment to the historic context of this important building. The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has a key role to play as part of our overall regeneration plans for the city centre that will combine top quality cultural, shopping and leisure experiences."

On display from October 15 to January 6, Leonardo da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection, is showing at the Glynn Vivian as the final venue of a tour to four galleries in the UK and Ireland. The drawings are thought to have been acquired by King Charles II in the 17th century, as part of a single album containing more than 500 of the artist's studies.

The Studio by Picasso and Snow Storm - Steamboat off a Harbour's Mouth by Turner are among the other works on display.

First Minister Carwyn Jones is visiting the gallery on Friday evening (October 14) to help mark its official opening.

He said: "I'm delighted to attend the opening of the new Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, which has been supported by £3.8 million of Welsh Government funding. This marvellous resource is now a fitting home for its many world class exhibits and able to reclaim its place as one of Wales's top cultural attractions."   

Phil George, Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, said: "The Glynn Vivian is a key venue in our national network of galleries.  This stunning redevelopment will transform its capacity to deliver the best in the visual arts to Swansea, Wales and beyond.  
 
"These stylish contemporary spaces will offer something for everyone and will enable the gallery's collections and touring exhibitions to connect with a wider public in a new and exciting way."

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: "Thanks to National Lottery players, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has been transformed to provide a better experience for its visitors. 

"Swansea and the surrounding area has already benefited from over £26million of National Lottery money to developing projects, large and small, that make a real difference to people's lives. We are delighted to now also see the Glynn Vivian being able to play its part in boosting Swansea's tourism and cultural offer, to both locals and visitors alike."

The re-opened gallery is also devoting exhibition space to the many hundreds of artefacts that its founder, Richard Glynn Vivian, collected on his travels around the world in the 19th century. With a focus on journeys, a sculpture in the form of an upturned ship called Nowhere Less Now by international artist Lindsay Seers, has also been installed in the Gallery's atrium area, courtesy of The Artangel Collection. 

The Gallery has also invited artists who have exhibited in Swansea in the past, from Latin America, China, South Africa and Wales, to present their work in an exhibition called Out of Darkness.

Have a look at www.swansea.gov.uk/glynnvivian for more information.

Glynn Vivian Reopening - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Glynn Viv entrance and gift shop - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


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