Victoria Gallery to be free for Discovery Card Holders.

People living in B&NES who hold Discovery Cards will soon be able to gain free entrance to the Victoria Art Gallery.

The measure was agreed at a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet and comes into effect on Saturday, March 7th.

The upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.
The upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.

Members were told that the main benefit of this was in the additional visits by friends and relatives coming with local people.

The income from such visits exceeds any potential income that could be achieved from charging local residents.

Free entrance to Discovery Card holders will therefore be extended to the Victoria Art Gallery.

Members heard that the net effect of these and related measures would be an annual increase in footfall at the Gallery of c.50,000 visitors and an increase in income of c. £60k.

The Gallery attracted 92,000 visitors in the last twelve months of which 40% were residents, 30% overseas visitors and 30% from elsewhere in the UK.

Jon Benington, Gallery Manager said: “It’s great news for the arts in Bath and for local art lovers, who will be able to visit our exhibitions as often as they choose. Admission to our Permanent Collection is already free but now local people will be able to view our temporary exhibitions free of charge as well.”

The extension of the scheme to the art gallery coincides with the start of the new Beryl Cook: Intimate Relations exhibition.

The show covers the whole of Beryl’s career, from her first painting, ‘Hangover’, to her last painting of ‘Tommy’ in 2008. Some of these oil paintings have never been seen in public before and there will be a special, 250 limited edition print of a very amusing picture titled ‘Bowling’ for sale.

Cllr Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe) Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development said: “The Gallery already welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year, we hope the extension of the Discovery Card scheme will encourage even more people to view the wonderful collections on show.”

The Residents’ Discovery Card is available to adults age 17+ and children age 14+ living in Bath & North East Somerset. Valid for 3 years, it can be used to gain free admittance to the Heritage sites of the Roman Baths, the Fashion Museum and now the Victoria Art Gallery. To apply for a Discovery Card, residents should take their Council Tax form and one other proof of local residence to the Council Connect One Stop Shop, 1-3 Manvers Street, the Roman Baths main entrance hall, the Civic Centre in Keynsham or the Hollies in Midsomer Norton. .

The Victoria Art Gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 1.30 – 5pm.

Entrance charges for temporary shows in the large gallery will only apply to those who do not qualify for a residents’ Discovery Card.

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