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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Party at the Museum

There was a small Christmas gathering at the Museum today with sweet and savoury nibbles and a feeling of elation still evident among those present, after last week's council vote to accept the Report recommending the building of a new Museum and Art Gallery on the site of the Wyvern car park.
Here's the festive Christmas tree:
 And a couple of photos in the downstairs room on the left as you enter the building.

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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Brilliant New Signage Proudly Proclaims 'Here We Are'

So much has been achieved recently at the Museum and Art Gallery in Bath Road, and now instead of looking quizzically at you if you mention this, and asks where it is, everyone knows we have a Swindon Museum and Art Gallery that we're proud to proclaim.
Here is the noticeboard:
In the top left hand corner is the new logo:
Really good lettering.
And a bleached out top of the photo, but 'MUSEUM' above the door again.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Good News is that Swindon will have a New Museum and Art Gallery in the Town Centre

The cabinet voted through the proposal that a new state of the art, purpose built museum and art gallery should be built on the site of the multi storey car park beside the Wyvern.
All parties agreed this would be a real asset to Swindon, and look forward to the completion of the project which will take an estimated 5 years at least.
More on the BBC site:
On the way home, in the mood for new developments, I took some photos of the new development on the old college site:

Visit to the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum on the 4th of December

The trip was instigated by Frameworks, an organisation which aims to bring several museums and art galleries together and encourage an exchange of views between the Friends of Bristol, Bath Holbourn, Cheltenham and Swindon museums and art galleries. There have been visits to Bristol and Bath, apologies for lack of reports on those visits, and hopefully Frameworks will run more trips.
Cheltenham's Museum and Art Gallery opened in October this year, after being closed for almost 2 years for a £5 million demolition and rebuilding of some of the main parts of the building, here's the outside view:

We met in the main reception  2pm, divided into two groups, the first group was shown the arts and crafts gallery first:
 Above an embroidery designed by May Morris in the early 1890s.
From there we were taken into the main art gallery, open for the first time since the late 1980s as a dedicated art gallery space:
 Above Stanley Spencer 'Village Life' 1939-40

 Jake and Dinos Chapman 'One day you will no longer be loved (that it should come to this)' 2010. This is a recent acquisition, I have included the gallery information below.

 We had afternoon refreshments in the area beside the fashion part of the museum the people involved with managing the mannequins were as interesting as their charges:
The second part of the visit involved being shown around the exhibition 'Casting Brilliance: Glass by Colin Reid which runs until 5th of January 2014.
 The piece above is kiln cast and polished optical glass with copper patina. It is cast from rocks on a beach in Japan, and looks fabulous.

 This piece is called 'Cornucopia Mirror' made from Kiln-cast optical glass with copper patina and mirror. Two more pieces can be seen in the reflection.
There is a film accompanying the exhibition which helps elucidate the processes.
In our free time at the end of the organised part of the visit, I saw some of the rest of their collections:
 Above Henry Tonks 'Two Girls in a boat', interesting to see what he produced after reading 'Crisis of Brilliance' about the Slade artists around the time of WW1.

 And photos of some of their pottery store:

This was a wonderful chance to look round Cheltenham's Museum and art gallery, special thanks to Kirsty Hartsiotis and her associate for making our visit so special.
 I'll certainly pay them another visit soon. Links to their pages below:
Facebook: Cheltenham Arts and Crafts Museum

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Exciting Press Release Ahead of the Council Meeting on 11.12.13 at 6pm

Press release about the latest plans for SM&AG:

An exciting plan to create a cultural hub in Swindon could soon take a significant step forward.
Next Wednesday (11 Dec) Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve that a site off Princes Street, which would include the soon to be demolished Wyvern Theatre car park, be used to house the town’s museum and art collections in a new purpose-built facility.
The site, which is next to the Wyvern Theatre, was chosen following an options appraisal by heritage specialists Barker Langham as it fits in with the Town Centre Masterplan and the Council’s Economic Strategy, which notes that a new Museum and Art Gallery would help to improve Swindon’s external image and act as a draw to businesses considering an investment in the Borough.
Owned by the Council, the identified location could also be used for a range of uses such as performance spaces, public realm or offices and housing.
The Cabinet will also be asked to commission further detailed feasibility work for the proposed museum and art gallery within the context of a ‘cultural quarter’ that would also include a new theatre in the same vicinity. The feasibility work would also be required to identify the most appropriate business model to generate on-going revenue and capital funding to support the facility into the future.
A new home for the Borough’s museum and art collections is an aspiration of Swindon Heritage Board, while a visit by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to the town’s art gallery last year resulted in significant interest from local potential benefactors who are extremely supportive and keen to help the project. This group is being led by Robert Hiscox, Honorary President of Hiscox Insurance, who is himself a substantial art collector.
Swindon has one of the best collections of 20th Century art outside of London, but, due to the size of the current Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Bath Road, only a limited amount of the artwork can be displayed at any one time.
A new art gallery and museum would meet a number of objectives set by an advisory group which has been overseeing the development and delivery of the work by Barker Langham.
These include maximising the regeneration and economic benefits for Swindon, enabling the current collections to grow and become world class, to generate cultural tourism and to ensure a positive and sustainable future for the collections.
If the Cabinet support the recommendations the Council will also apply for financial support for the project from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council and chairman of Swindon Heritage Board, said: “I am really excited that our long-held ambition to find a new home for our superb art and museum collections is starting to take shape.
“If these plans are supported by Cabinet it will act as the catalyst for us to really move forward with this project to provide a real cultural legacy for the Borough.”
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Regeneration and Culture, said: “The site identified in the cabinet report ticks a number of boxes but the fact that it ties in with our Town Centre Masterplan is very important.
“We already have hundreds of millions of pounds being invested in the town centre through the major regeneration schemes that are currently underway and a cultural quarter in this location would link these developments together.”
Robert Hiscox added: “The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery has a fascinating collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art, but the collection deserves a better home and it is inspirational that the Council, the politicians and local people have united behind the vision of building a new one.
“A new museum and art gallery would bring a cultural vibration to the heart of Swindon and be a vital part of its regeneration and a great asset to the whole region”.