A fresh experience awaits visitors at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry as work gets underway on a £1.2 million publicly-funded renovation project.
The venue currently offers a locally unparalleled combination of permanently-displayed historic artefacts and ever-changing art exhibitions, in partnership with organisations and individuals nationally, both of which are to be enhanced in the coming months.
The project will see the addition of a new gallery and refurbishment of existing exhibition spaces throughout the museum.
Funded by Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, a public body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the work is to be completed by Coventry-based company Deeley Construction.
The renovations are hoped to be completed in the first half of 2021, in time for the art venue to play a major role in Coventry’s UK City of Culture schedule, including hosting the renowned Turner Prize and exhibition.
It will be the first time in its near 40-year history that the Turner Prize will be staged in the West Midlands, with the accompanying exhibition running from September through to January 2022.
The improvements are also expected to significantly enhance the venue’s flexibility and thus appeal, which will help to attract other national exhibitions to Coventry and see the venue work with a broader range of notable partners.
Paul Breed, Chief Executive of Culture Coventry – the charity which operates the arts venue – called the works “vitally important” in preparing to welcome visitors from across the country during 2021 and beyond.
He continued that the work will “provide a step-change in the kind of exhibitions and events we can offer”.
The museum and art gallery, though currently closed due to a month-long lockdown in England, will remain open while construction work takes place in December and early 2021.
Martin Gallagher of Deeley Construction explained, “the gallery will remain open while our team completes the works, observing strict social distancing measures in the process.”
As the venue prepares for 2021, some artefacts and artworks may no longer be permanent display, to allow more space to display new artworks and deliver exhibitions.
Councillor George Duggins said that the venue undoubtedly has a “pivotal role” to play in 2021, as the city is “placed in the national and international spotlight.”
“This work will also provide a lasting legacy for the residents of our city beyond that year as well”, Cllr Duggins added.
To find out which galleries will be closed during construction works, once the museum reopens, visit its Galleries web page.