A MYSTERY donation launched the largest investment in the city’s art gallery and museum since the 1990s.
An anonymous donation of £ 300,000 to strengthen the permanent art collection at the Worcester Art Gallery and Museum has been accepted by City Council and will mark the start of a major renovation of the facility.
The Worcester City Council Policy and Resources Committee accepted the donation and supported plans that will boost future investment in the art gallery museum during a meeting at the Guildhall on Tuesday, September 7th.
City council chief Marc Bayliss said the “generous” donation was a “fantastic opportunity” for the city.
Cllr Lucy Hodgson added: “This very generous donation will see our permanent exhibits strengthened – especially the British Impressionists of the early 1900s – as well as improvements to the fabric of the building.
“This donation will also launch the development around the museum first mentioned in 2014 and the movement of the Worcestershire soldier to the commandery will also free up space.
“It is certainly an exciting time and I would like to once again thank the donor for their generosity.”
Philippa Tinsley, director of city council museums, told the committee that the town’s art gallery has not received any major investment since the 1990s and that parts of the building are in desperate need of renovation.
Submitting a separate multi-million pound bid for government funding will allow the Worcestershire Soldier exhibit – which currently occupies about a third of the space in the art gallery and museum building – to be relocated through the city center to the commandery with the new space and the mystery gift used to create a historic art gallery and enhance its permanent exhibits.
Part of the almost £ 20million offer to the government focuses on the city’s heritage with improvements to the art gallery museum and commandery high on the priority list.
Improvements to the city’s art gallery and museum will be tied to the vision of creating a cultural and creative hub around the northern part of downtown – including the multi-million pound redevelopments of Angel Place and Arches. .
A charity will be formed to receive the donation as well as to support fundraising for city and county museums in the future and allow more offers for government funding and grants.