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Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Development Trust announced

25/08/15

An exhibition by George Jamesone – widely known as Scotland's first portrait painter, was the impressive backdrop for the announcement of the Board of Trustees of the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Development Trust today (Tuesday 25 August).

The new Development Trust will play a leading role in building engagement and philanthropic support for Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums to provide additional resources to develop and expand their activities.

The first project that the Development Trust has agreed to support is the 30m redevelopment project 'Inspiring Art and Music', which will transform Aberdeen Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Memorial Hall in to a 21st century centre for art and music.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost 10million has been awarded for the ambitious Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment programme.

Aberdeen City Council has already committed 10million from its Non-Housing Capital Fund towards the overall cost of the project, and there will be a public and philanthropic fundraising campaign for the remaining 10million required.

The seven art-lovers from across the North-east of Scotland announced as the Board of Trustees of the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Development Trust today are:

  • Steve Regulski
  • Joe Mackie
  • Karen Molloy
  • Maire Lanaghan
  • Bobby Anderson
  • Gil Summers
  • Ken Massie

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam said: "Aberdonians love their art gallery and the fantastic collection – it is the heart and soul of our city's cultural life. This new trust is a huge step towards taking the Art Gallery to the next level in terms of programming and accessibility. I am sure everyone will want to show their support and get behind the fundraising campaign."

Steve Regulski, chairman of the Board of Trustees said: "For generations Aberdeen Art Gallery has inspired the people of the city, showcasing one of the finest collections of art – particularly contemporary art – to be found in the UK. The building itself, however, has been extended in a somewhat piecemeal fashion over the years, and is simply no longer fit for purpose.

"We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a gallery space fitting of the city's collections. By almost doubling the number of gallery spaces, from 11 to 21, and providing a better working environment for the gallery staff, this campaign will create more opportunities to enjoy and experience our rich culture in new ways.

"I am delighted to be part of this exciting development and to be chairing the fundraising appeal that will help make this a reality."

'Inspiring Art and Music' will see the transformation of the Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Memorial Hall through significant investment in the fabric of the buildings, new exhibition and display galleries and improved facilities for visitors.

The project involves new educational facilities to create opportunities for all to learn more about the arts, and the planned sensitive upgrading of the Cowdray Hall will create a fine new performance space for audiences and performers.

The programme for the construction and fit-out works to the Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall will enable the buildings to re-open in 2017. Interior plans include the creation of 21 gallery spaces in place of the existing 11, a 500 square metre space in which to showcase international-quality exhibitions, and a community gallery in a new wing at the rear of the building. Exterior plans involve removing the pitched roofs and skylights behind the parapets of the main building and adding a new storey of accommodation for temporary galleries and a learning zone.

The Memorial Hall will also be carefully renovated treated to reflect both its role as a space for quiet contemplation and as a civic space to honour the sacrifices made on behalf of the community.

Meantime, the construction of a Museums Collections Centre in the Northfield regeneration area will allow art works and historical objects to be stored during construction.

During the building work at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall there will be a continuing programme of art and music at Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Tolbooth Museum. Collections will also be seen at other venues in the city and shire and will go on loan to other organisations in the UK and abroad.

To learn more about the project, which is due to be completed in winter 2017, visit the project blog at www.inspiringartandmusic.tumblr.com

The 'George Jamesone – Portrait Painter' exhibition has opened at Aberdeen Maritime Museum as part of the continuity programme of events while Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed. The exhibition explores the life and career of George Jamesone, widely known as Scotland's first portrait painter, and the part three generations of the Jamesone family played in Aberdeen's history.

Jamesone painted some of the great people of his age, cementing his status as the first great Scottish-born portrait painter. Today, his work is held in many important collections across Britain including Aberdeen Art Gallery.

A native of Aberdeen, Jamesone's family before and after him also made significant contributions to the city's cultural heritage. Jamesone's father and grandfathers were masons in Aberdeen. Provost Ross's House, was built in 1593 and is said to have been the work of Andrew Jamesone, George's father. Andrew Jamesone was also involved in the building the Brig o' Balgownie.

George's daughter Mary is associated with the production of five beautiful embroidered hangings – four of which survive and hang in the West Kirk of St Nicholas.

A series of free illustrated talks to coincide with the exhibition have been organised. For more information visit www.aagm.co.uk

The exhibition runs until Saturday 29 November 2015.