Big, Beautiful and Bright – comments from Whitworth staff

27 02 2014

Big, Beautiful and Bright - comments from Whitworth staff

After so much recent rain, it was lovely to be able to go on site this afternoon with a group of Whitworth staff and witness at first hand the late afternoon, winter sunshine streaming across the Art Garden and into the Promenade.

Views of the park were high on the list of staff comments, with a real pleasure expressed by the intimacy between views out to the Art Garden and into the Collections Access Area and Study Centre – ‘we can’t wait to see it when all the windows are revealed’ and the glazing protection taken down. Members of the Learning team were excited too by the connections between the inside and external spaces – the Bi-fold doors that have just been installed in the Learning studio will come into their own as families drop in for the exciting programme of activities in store.

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The Cafe remains a firm favourite – so lovely to imagine sitting within the canopy of the trees sipping coffee – and don’t forget too the Cafe Terrace, which will surely become a great place for lunch on a summer’s day.

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Staff were bowled over by the spaces, expressing surprise over the sheer scale of the Landscape Gallery (reminiscent to one of White Cube at Mason’s Yard, London), and generally how so much of the new build felt bigger than when just seen on the plans.

Some staff are currently ensconced in rather old and dingy temporary office accommodation, and so the visit was a good reminder of what we are all working towards, seeing ‘our new, amazing Gallery makes you realise it will be worth it in the end’ – the word ‘Magnificent’ summed it all up!

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Art Auction raises money for our new Collections Access facilities

21 09 2013

Collection access areaIt was a bit of an ‘edge of the seat’ moment at midnight on Friday 20 September for anyone bidding in the Friends of the Whitworth’s exciting online Art Auction.  Although the bidding had been open for some weeks, as is the way with these things, it all ‘hotted up’ during the last hours of Friday evening. The auction raised an amazing £5,000 which will be used towards the design and purchase of bespoke furniture and fittings for the Collections Access Area.

This new facility should become a first point of call for visitors entering the new Gallery building from Whitworth Park and will offer a half-way house between an exhibition and our Study Centre.  The Collections Access Area will show rapidly changing displays from the Gallery’s internationally renowned collections of fine art, textiles and wallpapers and provide opportunities for working alongside a range of collaborators from University academics to local community groups.  Objects will be displayed in a range of wall cases, browser drawers and glass topped tables and there will be access to books and computers in a relaxed and informal setting.  Groups will be able to book sessions in the spaces with members of staff and at other times, the space will be open for all our visitors with further interpretation offered by a skilled group of volunteers (if you would like to join this group please contact the Friends of the Whitworth at: http://www.friendsofthewhitworth.org.uk/contact.html or our Volunteer Coordinator at: kate.glynn@manchester.ac.uk).

In the meantime, the fundraising continues and if you missed out on the wonderful original artworks so kindly donated by artist friends and associates of the Gallery, then there will be another chance to bid for works by Richard Wentworth, Maxine Bristow, Alice Kettle and others in the run up to Christmas – so get saving and watch this space!