Cooper Gallery gets grant for Creating Connections project

The Cooper Gallery, Church Street, Barnsley, has been successful in its second round bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Creating Connections project.

This means that the HLF will be awarding a grant of £638,000 towards the project, which will see the transformation of the Cooper Gallery by building new gallery spaces, completely reorientation of the existing gallery and introducing new and effective ways of engaging audiences with the heritage of the collection and the building itself.

Cllr Roy Miller, cabinet spokesperson for Place, said: “This is great news for the Cooper Gallery in its centenary year. The gallery has been enriching Barnsley’s cultural life for 100 years and now this funding means it can widen its offer, allowing access to all the works of art in its collection. The Creating Connections project will make a major contribution to the cultural experience in Barnsley for years to come.”

The gallery extension will provide wonderful spaces in which a much larger proportion of the gallery’s excellent collections can be displayed. Currently, only five percent can be displayed.

Existing and new audiences will be able to learn about and be inspired by the collections, discovering the stories of the collectors who brought them together and sharing experiences of the gallery overs its 110 year history.

Much-needed conservation work to some of the collection will also be carried out. Improvements to their storage will enable staff to look after the works of art more effectively. Research and viewing areas will also be introduced.

Visitor experiences will be transformed, with extensive new interpretation, re-orientation of the visitor routes through the gallery and a new entrance from the busy Eastgate side of the building.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and The Humber, said:

“Not only does this project mean that a far greater proportion of the gallery’s collection can be seen and enjoyed by the public, but visitors will be able to find out  about the people who collected the artworks, many of whom were wealthy figures from the town’s great industrial past.”

Operated by Barnsley Council, The Cooper Gallery is a vibrant creative art-space in the heart of Barnsley town centre. It has a regular programme of contemporary touring exhibitions and exciting events. The Gallery is also home to the Craft Showcase which features crafts and artwork for sale by regional and local artists.