Birmingham & Black Country

New Art Gallery Walsall future secured after £3.5m grant

New Art Gallery Walsall Image copyright Walsall Council
Image caption The money will be invested between 2018 and 2022

The future of an under-threat art gallery has been secured following a £3.5m grant from Arts Council England.

The money will be invested in New Art Gallery Walsall between 2018 and 2022.

Walsall Council had said it was looking to shut the gallery due to "continued austerity", sparking protests and a petition opposing closure signed by more than 6,000 people.

Council leader Sean Coughlan said he was delighted the gallery's "national importance" had been recognised.

The award is part of a total of £215m pledged to 76 arts organisations across the West Midlands.

Mr Coughlan said the grant was a "significant vote of confidence" in the gallery.

"I made it clear when setting our budget earlier this year that we never intended to close the gallery.

Image caption Walsall's New Art Gallery cost £21m to build and opened in 2000

'Emerging artists'

"Instead, given the ongoing pressures to local authority funding, we needed to be more imaginative and certain about how we operate and fund such facilities," he said.

"Taking a long-term view of the budget over a four-year plan has allowed us to do just that."

The gallery, which was opened by The Queen in 2000 and was one of several cultural projects built for the millennium, gets about 200,000 visitors each year, according to the local authority.

It has featured exhibitions from Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.

Peter Knott, area director for Arts Council England, added: "The gallery provides strong visual arts programming as well as a dynamic educational programme for children, young people and emerging artists alike, and it will be great to see them continue to provide inspiration to current and future audiences."

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