New Galleries with a New Fresh Look
Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is ready to welcome visitors after a £1.2 million investment to prepare for UK City of Culture 2021.
The repurposing of the city centre gallery carried out by Coventry-based Deeley Construction is complete – just in time for the lightening of Covid-19 restrictions and the city’s year in the cultural spotlight.
The Herbert will host several highlights of the year long programme, including the prestigious Turner Prize – one of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world.
The investment and improvements to the Herbert, supported by the Cultural Capital Investment Fund which is resourced by Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, will enhance the visitor experience during UK City of Culture and beyond.
They include the refurbishment of several galleries on the first floor with new wall linings, flooring and lighting. The four redeveloped galleries now have a modern, white cube feel to them and will give the museum the opportunity to stage a wider range of largescale, world-class exhibitions.
Other areas within the Herbert have also been refurbished and improved, including the welcome area, café, retail area and new toilet facilities.
A new signage and wayfinding system will further enhance the visitor experience.
In addition to the works supported through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund, energy and sustainability improvements have been made through a major plant and controls upgrade, of which £376,353 was generously supported by Arts Council England.
The improvements will not only transform the environmental control and management of the exhibition and gallery spaces, but also substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the Herbert and generate significant revenue savings.
Artists and arts organisations will be confident that their works of art will be exhibited within some of the most technologically refined environmental conditions - undoubtedly attracting more national and international visitors to the city.
Paul Breed, CEO of Culture Coventry – the charity which manages the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “It’s been a difficult 12 months for everyone, and we are incredibly excited to be able to welcome visitors back to a much-improved venue.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to Coventry City Council and Arts Council England for enabling these works to happen.
“These new spaces enable us to host larger and more immersive exhibitions and provide a real legacy for the scale of programming we can host during and beyond UK City of Culture.”
Councillor David Welsh added, “I’m really impressed at the completion of the refurbishment work in the galleries and other areas of the Herbert, despite the extraordinary circumstances of Covid-19.
“The venue will be the stage for the Turner Prize and in the coming months, as restrictions ease, it will be able to offer visitors an opportunity to reconnect with a number of important artistic displays.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the work.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the Herbert and are looking forward to seeing the gallery open their doors to visitors.
“This year will be an exciting year for The Herbert and Coventry, especially hosting the Turner Prize and City of Culture, so we’re pleased the gallery will be ready to host world-class visual arts in excellent facilities that people can enjoy in 2021 and into the future.”