A £1.5million renovation of an art gallery has been unveiled as it hosts a prestigious exhibition attracting the UK’s top artists.
The Wolverhampton Art Gallery opened its new cafe called Glaze on Friday (January 21) with room for 80 people.
The city center site is also exhibiting the free British Art Show until April 10 with works of art scattered throughout several rooms.
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Council bosses said the revamp and art exhibit would boost the regional arts industry and local artists, while boosting the town’s economy.
The British Art Show, which takes place every five years, is presented at the gallery and across the road at Wolverhampton University School of Art.
Cllr Stephen Simkins, Deputy Chief and Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “We need to get back to the arts as an economy.
“We have studios, which have young and old artists renting space, but we want them to exhibit their art so they can get an income.
“Everyone in college and art school has a place to display their work. It’s a growing economy.”
The new cafe, which has created five jobs, replaces an old dining room that used to be on the first floor.
The renovation also saw the entrance to St. Peter’s Gardens from the gallery, redesigned with improved access for the disabled.
The cafe and entrance upgrade was the second phase of the gallery’s redesign costing £1,526,000, funded by grants from Arts Council England and council capital funding.
The first phase saw the opening of a new exhibition space, refurbishment of the gallery’s Georgian room and improvements to the sound system and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The British Art Show showcases a range of artwork, from paintings to sculptures, light shows, short films and fabrics.
Marguerite Nugent, director of the art gallery, said: “The British Art Show has a very long history, the first dating back to 1973. For someone like me who works in the visual arts, it is a very known to the art. calendar. Having him here is really exciting.
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Tom Jenkins, Chairman of Friends of Wolverhampton Arts and Museums, added: “The Friends are delighted with these improvements and the new dining space will be a great asset.
“This means we now have the opportunity to expand our regular morning coffees to more people, giving members a welcome opportunity to socialize and enjoy exhibits and presentations.
“The new facilities will also encourage more people to come and spend time in our fantastic downtown art gallery.”