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A bigger and better York Art Gallery £8 million development for spring 2015

York Art Gallery will reopen in spring 2015 after an £8 million development, creating over 60 per cent more exhibition space and establishing a national centre for ceramic art. The development will create a suite of three galleries to show more ambitious and high profile exhibitions, the creation of extra learning space and a new sculpture garden, which will link to the existing York Museum Gardens.

A newly built first floor South Gallery and a new gallery in the original Victorian roof space will become the centre for ceramic art, which will showcase work from the most extensive collection of British studio ceramics in the country.

The gallery closed on December 31 2012 for the development which will be finished in spring 2015. Janet Barnes, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: “The £8 million development will see York Art Gallery become one of the best regional galleries in the country. It will allow us to showcase even more of our nationally important collections as well as giving us the space and conditions needed to attract much larger touring exhibitions which previously would not have been possible. “The unveiling of the fantastic Victorian roof space was a central part of our plans and, together with the new first floor South Gallery, become home to a centre for ceramic art. We have more than 5,000 examples in our collection, the largest in the country, and we want to establish the gallery as the place to come to learn, study and enjoy this genre of art.”

The development will also include:

• A second entrance at the rear of the gallery into the new area of the York Museum Gardens.

• Better visitor facilities including new cafe, shop, toilets and lift,

• A new learning room on the first floor.

• Much improved storage for the collections.

The new first floor South Gallery and the roof space will create some of the 60 percent extra exhibition space. The rest will be achieved by expanding into rooms previously occupied by the City Archives, creating the suite of three galleries on the ground floor. The new area of the gardens will see an art garden created and linked to the York Museum Gardens. For the first time this will open up new access routes, allowing people to walk directly from the York Museum Gardens, to the gallery and through to Exhibition Square.

Full list of funders so far

National Lottery through Arts Council England - £3.5 million

Private Legacy – £2 million

City of York Council - £500,000

Anthony Shaw Trust - £400,000

Garfield Weston Foundation - £250,000

The Foyle Foundation - £150,000

Sir Siegmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement - £100,000

Friends of York Art Gallery - £70,000

Holbeck Charitable Trust - £100,000

The Feoffees of St Michael’s of Spurriergate - £50,000

Shepherd Group - £50,000

J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust - £50,000

Headley Trust - £40,000

York Museums Trust is continuing to seek other funding opportunities for the project.

York Museums Trust are working to secure the rest of the funding from various funding bodies and organisations.

Centre for ceramic art

York Art Gallery now holds the world’s most extensive and representative collection of British studio ceramics, thanks to the acquisition of collections from Dean Milner–White, WA Ismay and Henry Rothschild and the recent loan of Anthony Shaw’s collection. Opening up the roof space and creating a new upper South Gallery will make use of the height of the Victorian building. This will add some 450m² of high quality gallery space. These two new galleries will become the centre for ceramic art, showcasing our world class collections of more than 5,000 British studio ceramics which span the twentieth century and come right up to the present day. Our displays and special exhibitions will be supported by archives and visible open storage for much of the collections.


Notes to Editors

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

For further press information

Contact Lee Clark, Communications Manager, York Museums Trust, telephone 01904 687673 or e-mail

For more information on architects Ushida Findlay visit:

York Art Gallery opens daily, from 10am until 5pm, and admission is free. For more information, go to or telephone 01904 687687.