The Public art gallery closure a 'sad day'

The Public gallery only opened five years ago

Related Stories

Staff, artists and visitors have bid farewell to The Public art gallery in West Bromwich, on what they called "a sad day for the West Midlands".

The New Street gallery, which opened in 2008, is closing after Sandwell Council announced it could no longer spend £30,000 a week subsidising the venue.

Tearful staff said they were "overwhelmed" by the support of visitors at the £72m venue.

Visitors said they were "sorry to see the venue close".

The Public closes for good on Saturday.

The site, dubbed a "giant shoebox" by critics, is set to become a sixth form college for up to 500 students next year. Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper said a 25-year lease deal with Sandwell College means the "building's future has been secured".

'Hard to believe'

A "Celebration Week" at the gallery began on Monday, showcasing local music, comedy and art.

The Public

  • In 2006, administrators were called in as the project faced rising debts even before it was due to open
  • The gallery was bailed out by a £1.6m government grant
  • It opened to visitors in June 2008, two years behind schedule
  • Its key feature, an interactive gallery, finally opened in August 2009
  • The final cost of the project was £72m, more than £15m over budget
  • It was initially criticised for plans to charge a £6.95 entry fee, which was scrapped before the main gallery opened

A spokeswoman for The Public's management said: "We held celebrations because we wanted to go out on top.

"It is still hard to believe this is happening. There have been lots of tears from everyone.

"I feel angry that some people are losing their jobs, but am pleased that some groups have found alternate premises."

She added: "We have 120 apprentices here and it is them I feel sorry for because they have had all this opportunity taken away from them.

"Sixty full-time staff lost their jobs with the closure, and 38 companies that were based here are looking for alternate locations."

Valerie Bunce, 67, from Tipton, was a member of The Public's Friday Knitting Group.

Fun Palace at The Public Architect Cedric Price designed the Fun Palace in the 1960s. The Public's architect, Wil Alsop, incorporated it into the venue
Public Scrapbook at Public Gallery Staff and customers created their own scrapbook of the gallery, featuring flyers, photos and memories
Head of Learning Andy Fowles at The Public Head of Learning, Andy Fowles, 36, with one of the artworks he created for the gallery, said: "This has been a fantastic, popular venue."
Artist Graeme Rose, 47, the Public Birmingham artist Graeme Rose, 47, who held exhibitions at The Public said: "The closure is a huge loss to the community."

She said: "The council should have given it at least another 12 months to see how things went.

"It has been an important part of the community and a social meeting place.

"It is a very sad day for the West Midlands."

Artists who exhibited work at the gallery said they felt proud to have displayed work there.

Graeme Rose, 47, from Birmingham, said: "I feel privileged to have been here and am proud of what we have done."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

12 °C 5 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Ready for kick-off 14:04: Rob Gurney BBC WM Sport

    Birmingham City Ladies and their opponents Tyreso get ready to kick off.

    Birmingham City Ladies and their opponents Tyreso get ready to kick off

    I'll be bringing you updates on BBC WM 95.6FM throughout the afternoon.

     
  2.  
    Drink-drive crash injures officers 13:47:

    A suspected drink-driver has been arrested after a car ploughed into a police patrol vehicle, injuring two officers.

    Damaged police car

    The man, aged 44, was taken into custody at about 02:40 after a Volkswagen Golf mounted the pavement and then struck the officers' car in Dudley.

    The two police officers who were in the car were taken to hospital, where one remains.

     
  3.  
    Nottm Forest v Birmingham 13:27: BBC WM

    Birmingham City need at least one more win to be safe in the Championship - and their excellent away form will need to continue if they're to get it at Nottingham Forest this afternoon.

    Lee Novak misses out through injury, while one or two other Blues players face fitness tests to see if they make it.

    There will be commentary on BBC WM 95.6FM from 15:00.

     
  4.  
    Weather snapshot 13:09: Charlie Slater Weather presenter

    Some blue sky and sunshine is about in the West Midlands with cloud thrown in. There's some uncertainty around tomorrow but it's looking mainly dry.

    Weather forecast for Saturday afternoon
     
  5.  
    Biggest game in their history 12:49: Rob Gurney BBC WM Sport

    Birmingham City Ladies are preparing for the biggest game in their history as they take on Tyreso in the Champions League semi-final at Solihull Moors.

    The likes of Remi Allen, Kirsty Linnett and Jo Potter are expected to return to the starting line up for the first leg after being on the bench for the midweek league game with Everton.

    It's a 14:00 kick-off and there'll be regular updates here on BBC WM 95.6FM.

     
  6.  
    'No gender-based segregation' 12:30:

    Tristram Hunt, Labour's shadow education secretary, has warned against religious extremism in schools, reports BBC Education & Family.

    In a speech to the NASUWT teachers' union, Mr Hunt said schools should not have "gender-based segregation" and that teachers must not be "undermined".

     
  7.  
    Queues for vinyl 12:11: Louise Brierley BBC WM Reporter

    Today is National Record Store Day and I've been reporting live from across Birmingham and the Black Country visiting shops across the area this morning.

    Queues outside Vinyl and Vintage in Wolverhampton

    People queued outside Vinyl & Vintage in Wolverhampton from 05:30. If you missed the programme, you can listen again.

     
  8.  
    Early Kick-off 12:01: Jenny Wilkes Presenter, BBC WM

    I'm sitting in for Daz Hale on Early Kick-off today looking ahead to today's big matches including: Aston Villa v Southampton and Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City, plus Birmingham City Ladies v Swedish side Tyreso in the Uefa Women's Champions League semi-final first leg.

    And I want your earliest memories of going to a football match, who did you see? Listen live.

     
  9.  
    12C for Villa match 11:51:

    BBC Weather tweets: Perfect conditions for some of the Premiership matches, take a look. Louise L

    Football
     
  10.  
    'Rap across the knuckles' 11:33:

    Wolves correspondent for the Express and Star Tim Nash tells BBC WM the club can expect a "rap across the knuckles and a fine" after a number of supporters invaded the pitch yesterday.

    He says: "Those who went on the pitch aren't regulars. The Wolves gate average this season has been 20,000 and there were 30,000 there yesterday and that was the first time in 33 years they've seen that."

     
  11.  
    Warning against school extremism 11:15:

    Labour's Tristram Hunt is to issue a tough warning against religious extremism in schools. Read the full story on BBC News.

    Tristram Hunt

    In a speech to the NASUWT teachers' union, Mr Hunt will welcome Birmingham council's investigation into the "so-called Trojan Horse conspiracy".

    The Department for Education is also examining claims of schools being "taken over" by Muslim hardliners.

     
  12.  
    Charges after cleaning fluid attack 10:55:

    Three people have been charged after a teenager was seriously burnt when what is thought to be a high-strength cleaning fluid was thrown at her when she answered her front door in Tividale, police say.

    Matthew Wood, 27, from Alexander Road in Smethwick, is charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and is due to to appear at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court today.

    Debbie Wood and Lisa Wood, of the same address, have been charged with committing an act to pervert the course of public justice.

     
  13.  
    Have your say 10:37:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.

     
  14.  
    Wolves condemn pitch invasion 10:17:

    Wolves have released a statement on their website "condemning" supporters who invaded the pitch during the closing minutes of yesterday's match against Rotherham United.

    Pitch invasion at Wolves v Rotherham 2014

    The club say: "The minority of supporters have marred a classic game, played in a competitive spirit, and prevented the Wolves players from celebrating with the majority of home supporters in the stadium.

    "The reality is that the referee was, understandably, close to abandoning the fixture, which would have nullified a tremendous victory. The club now awaits an inevitable follow-up from the Football Association."

     
  15.  
    Carlisle 1-1 Walsall 09:58:

    A goal from second half substitute Michael Ngoo secured a point for Walsall as they drew 1-1 at Carlisle.

    The home side went ahead as early as the 13th minute, but the Saddlers stuck to their task and were rewarded with an equaliser.

     
  16.  
    Eight tribes of vinyl 09:39:

    BBC Magazine takes a look at who is still buying vinyl, from the young enthusiast to a legendary DJ.

    Keb Darge listening to some of his collection of 50s and 60s 7 inch singles
     
  17.  
    LATEST UPDATES
     
  18.  
    Wolves 6-4 Rotherham 09:18:

    Wolves scored two last-gasp goals to beat Rotherham 6-4 in an incredible game and close in on the League One title.

    Wolves striker Nouha Dicko

    Wolves looked to be coasting as Nouha Dicko's (pictured) close-range double and a Dave Edwards strike saw them respond to Kieran Agard's early headed opener.

     
  19.  
    On air 09:00: Danny Kelly Presenter, BBC WM

    I'll be celebrating National Record Store Day - taking a whistle-stop tour of independent music shops across Birmingham to find out how they're celebrating the occasion.

    Vinyl

    And this morning we're asking for your thoughts on the Wolves pitch invasion and what the penalties should be, after fans interrupted the game in the closing minutes. Listen live.

     
  20.  
    Schools 'must have local oversight' 08:49:

    The shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt will criticise the government today over allegations that some Muslims are trying to impose their religious views on schools in Birmingham.

    In a speech to teachers in the city, he will say there must be local oversight of schools, including academies.

    The teachers' union NASUWT is meeting in Birmingham for its annual conference this weekend.

     
  21.  
    Your bank holiday weekend 08:28: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    What are you up to this bank holiday weekend? If you've taken a photo of you local area share it with us and we'll feature our favourite ones on BBC Local Live.

    Sunrise

    I took this photo as I headed into work this morning. If you were up you may have seen the stunning sunrise. Email, tweet or upload your pictures on Facebook.

     
  22.  
    Plenty of brightness 08:11: Charlie Slater Weather presenter

    There may be a light frost in rural areas this morning ahead of another dry and bright day with some blue sky and sunshine thrown in with some cloud.

    More cloud will bubble up this afternoon, but there will still be plenty of brightness to be had. Highs of 14C (57F).

     
  23.  
    Good morning 08:00: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'm in the BBC WM newsroom this weekend bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to comment on any of the updates we're featuring today please do get in touch via email, Twitter or Facebook.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • Joe Ierardi playing a pianoClick Watch

    Meet the man trying to create the perfect digital piano - but is it as good as the real thing?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.