Up to ten sites are being considered to jointly house a new National Gallery of Contemporary Art across Wales, according to the Welsh Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport.
Dawn Bowden MS described development progress which could see the gallery hosted in a number of locations across Wales with an ‘anchor’ site, as well as an online collection.
Ms Bowden says the geographical dispersion model being explored will allow greater access to contemporary art for communities in Wales, bringing art closer to the people of Wales.
Development of the online gallery is also underway, focusing on mobile and desktop websites, while the digitization of National Collection works is underway with over 6,000 works photographed and over 8,000 assets already digitized. at the end of June.
The National Contemporary Art Gallery Steering Group has been working during the pandemic to digitize the collection’s assets as a basis for carrying out several digital projects to entertain and educate, or to support NHS staff and patients.
The “Art in Hospitals” project allowed staff to choose images for field hospitals and vaccination centers during the pandemic, while a short series of creative commissions were created for new contemporary art under the “Artists Respond to the Present” banner.
These were developed under the Celf ar y Cyd banner and included the interactive digital platform, Art 100 Celf, the Amgueddfa Cymru website and the AM platform.
Proposals for a national gallery of contemporary art were explored following a feasibility study in 2018.
In December 2021, a draft budget was published by the Welsh Government under Labour’s own program for government as well as the co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.
It included £127million to be invested in theaters and museums including Theatr Clwyd, the creation of a football museum for Wales, a national gallery of contemporary art and a museum for North Wales Wales.
Ms Bowden said: ‘I am grateful for the work undertaken so far, thanks to the collaboration between the Arts Council of Wales, the National Library of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru
“Confidential discussions continue with sites to determine their readiness to participate in the dispersed model; the timeframe and level of resources required.
“We are also exploring the potential for an anchor site, which would provide a dedicated and permanent place, where objects from the national collection are displayed and accessible throughout the year and where the best of contemporary Welsh art and international can be presented, experienced and established.
“Work has begun to identify this anchor site. A request for candidate sites will be posted later this month, with responses requested by August 31.
“A phased approach will be taken to set up the network of galleries across Wales and further announcements on progress will be made in the autumn.
“We will engage more broadly with the visual arts community in the development of the National Contemporary Art Gallery.”
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