The New Art Gallery Walsall
is a modern and contemporary art gallery sited in the centre of the West Midlands
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...
town of Walsall
Walsall is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. It is located northwest of Birmingham and east of Wolverhampton. Historically a part of Staffordshire, Walsall is a component area of the West Midlands conurbation and part of the Black Country.Walsall is the administrative...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
. It was built with £21 million of public funding, including £15.75 million from the UK National Lottery
The National Lottery is the state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.It is operated by Camelot Group, to whom the licence was granted in 1994, 2001 and again in 2007. The lottery is regulated by the National Lottery Commission, and was established by the then...
and additional money from the European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund is a fund allocated by the European Union.-History:During the 1960s, the European Commission occasionally tried to establish a regional fund. Only Italy ever supported this, however, and nothing came of it. Britain made it an issue for their accession in...
and City Challenge.
Designed by the architects Caruso St John
Caruso St John is an architectural firm established in 1990 by Adam Caruso and Peter St John.They have gained an international reputation for excellence in designing contemporary projects in the public realm. The practice came to public attention with the New Art Gallery in Walsall, a commission...
after winning an international design competition, it opened in January 2000, replacing the town's old gallery and an arts centre that had been closed by the Council almost a decade earlier. The New Art Gallery's stark building won several architectural awards and attracted over 237,000 visitors in its opening year . The five storey building is clad in pale terracotta and has a floor area of 5000 square metres (53,820 sq ft). The public square surrounding the building was designed by Richard Wentworth and Catherine Yass
Catherine Yass is an English artist.Catherine Yass was born in 1963 in London and in her early years lived in Hampstead. She later studied at the Slade School of Art, London and then at Hochschule der Künste, Berlin...
The building is an inspirational structure which provides Walsall with an iconic landmark that forms a new feature on an industrial skyline.
The Gallery houses the fixed Garman Ryan collection of sculptures and paintings by modern masters including a large selection of work by Jacob Epstein
Sir Jacob Epstein KBE was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British citizen in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged taboos on what was appropriate subject matter...
which was donated by his late wife Lady Epstein
Kathleen Garman, Lady Epstein was the third of the seven notorious Garman sisters, who were high profile members of artistic circles in mid-twentieth century London, renowned for their beauty and scandalousness. She was the muse and longtime mistress of Jacob Epstein, the famous British/American...
and her friend Sally Ryan. The temporary exhibition galleries on the third and fourth floor are dedicated to exhibiting the best of contemporary and historic art.
Its first Director was Peter Jenkinson. After he stepped down, no further Director was appointed by the Council for over two years. In May 2005, former BALTIC
The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is an international centre for contemporary art located on the south bank of the River Tyne alongside the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, North East England, United Kingdom...
director Stephen Snoddy
Stephen Snoddy is a Curator and Gallery Director. Stephen Snoddy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1959 and he trained as a painter at Belfast College of Art where he graduated in 1983 with an MA in Fine Art....
was appointed as Director.
The gallery has continually supported emerging and established artists from throughout the UK through their regular residency programs. Artists in residence include:
a.a.s is a British group whose work parodies performance, installation, video, and participatory art.-Biography:Founded in 2001, a.a.s has been described as an 'imaginary' art group that makes use of real, practicing artists to meet its ends. The current administrative team are Ana Benlloch, Alex...
Bob and Roberta Smith,
Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry,
Simon and Tom Bloor
Yoke and Zoom.
The gallery is family friendly and hosts a range of free activities for children and young people in school holidays and throughout the year. Free community events at the gallery include Diwali Celebrations, Islamic Arts Festival, late night events and a singles night.
The gallery is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday - Saturday (and Bank Holiday Mondays), and 11am to 4pm on Sundays with free admission to the gallery.
Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse company founded in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. Since 1995 it has been a subsidiary of Whitbread, since when the company has grown to over...
opened a franchise in partnership with the New Art gallery; in a deal brokered by Walsall Council's Economic Regeneration team, the ground floor café in The New Art Gallery Walsall was transformed into a Costa Coffee store and opened for business on 8 August 2007.