Staff at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery are preparing for major building work to start soon. The upper gallery will temporarily close to visitors from the 4 September for work on replacing the roof glazing and created a new learning space.
The gallery team will put the collection of artworks into storage before work begins to replace the glazing of the historic roof above the gallery. At the same time work will begin to create ‘The Studio’, a brand-new creative learning space for schools and the local community.
Whilst work is ongoing the Lower Gallery of the museum will remain open to the public for a programme of inspiring temporary exhibitions.
Works to the Upper Gallery roof will help protect the Grade II listed building and artworks for the future. Replacement of the existing glazing will form a substantial part of the work, alongside work to the existing blind system, to control of the level of sunlight more effectively.
The Studio will host a much wider range of learning activities than is currently possible in the Gallery, with a specially designed space that meets all the requirements of Clore Learning Standards space for workshops, classes, and creative groups.
Ahead of opening the gallery team will work with community and learning partners to develop a rich programme of activities to make best use of these new spaces.
Councillor Paul Roper, Cabinet Member for Economic & Cultural Sustainable Development, said: “The Victoria Art Gallery is a cultural gem in the heart of Bath, and our upcoming work to the roof will help protect the Grade II listed building now and for generations to come.
Combining this essential work with the creation of a new learning space will jointly mean the gallery continues to play an important part of our city’s rich cultural heritage. This administration is strongly committed to supporting a vibrant cultural offering across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset and the ongoing success of the Victoria Art Gallery is key to these plans.”
Katharine Wall, Senior Curator at Victoria Art Gallery said of the new learning space: “The Studio will give us a fantastic new space for our local community to get hands on with and inspired by art. We’ll be working with schools and community groups to put together a programme of inspiring events, activities, and workshops to make the most of the new space, and we can’t wait to start using it.
Until then our beautiful lower galleries will remain open, and we have a great programme of exhibitions coming up including the current exhibition with internationally renowned textile artist Kaffe Fassett, and a stunning celebration of Surrealism in Britain and an exhibition of local painter Gail Mason, both opening in October.”
Work to remove the permanent collection of artwork form the upper gallery will start from 4 September, before the conservation work to the roof and creation of The Studio start in earnest and continue into the winter.
The two projects – conservation repairs and creation of the learning space – have been planned alongside each other to minimise the closure of the upper gallery and reduce the impact on visitors.
Throughout the works the lower galleries will be open as usual for the vibrant Kaffe Fassett and Candace Bahouth exhibition until October, and the upcoming When Dreams Confront Reality: Surrealism in Britain, from 13 October – 7 January, and Gail Mason: The Unseen Landscape, from 7 October – 7 January.
For further details and updates throughout the project visit victoriagal.org.uk