Work is underway on a £1.2 million project to get one of Coventry’s most precious cultural assets ready for UK City of Culture 2021.
Coventry-based Deeley Construction has started improvement works at Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which will see the addition of a new gallery and refurbishment of the existing exhibition spaces.
The work will be complete in time for the Herbert to play a major role in 2021 – including hosting the internationally renowned Turner Prize.
The exhibition will run from September 29, 2021 through to January 12, 2022 with the announcement of the winner taking place on December 1, 2021. It is the first time in its near 40-year history that it has been staged in the West Midlands.
Following completion of the works, the Herbert will also be able to attract other nationally significant exhibitions and work with a broader range of partners as the new galleries will offer greater flexibility in the way work is presented, utilising new technology and other infrastructures within the space.
The work is being funded by Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, and Deeley Construction will be completing the project on behalf of Culture Coventry, the charity which runs the Herbert.
Paul Breed, Chief Executive of Culture Coventry – which operates The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “We are looking forward with great excitement to Coventry 2021 and Herbert Art Gallery & Museum will have a big part to play in that.
“It was announced recently that we will be hosting the Turner Prize in 2021, which is incredible for the Herbert and Coventry.
“We are going to attract visitors from across the region and the country, so it’s vitally important that we are ready for that.
“This work will improve our gallery space and provide a step-change in the kind of exhibitions and events we can offer during the year of UK City of Culture and beyond.”
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “This is an exciting project to improve an iconic city centre attraction ahead of Coventry 2021. The gallery will remain open while our team completes the works, observing strict social distancing measures in the process.
“As a company, we have been big supporters of UK City of Culture in Coventry as we understand the massive benefits it will bring to the city and its communities.
“So we are delighted to be able to play a role in improving such an important cultural asset in the city.”
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The Herbert is one of the modern jewels in the crown of Coventry and it is wonderful this work will improve this multi-purpose facility still further.
“The venue will play a pivotal role in our year as UK City of Culture as the city is placed in the national and international spotlight. But this work will also provide a lasting legacy for the residents of our city beyond that year as well.”