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Royal William yard in Plymouth set for art exhibits

Royal William art

Royal William art

Ambitious plans are afoot to transform a large section of the Royal William yard in Plymouth into an accessible art education and exhibition area. These plans now have the go-ahead thanks to a funding grant from the Art Council England. The city’s arts community is understandably delighted, in particular the PVAC which spearheaded the bid.

Just short of £100,000 has been awarded to the project to fully redevelop the Slaughterhouse building, which also ensures its viability to be used as one of the 5 venues across the city that will host the British Art Show 7, when it comes to Plymouth later in the years for the first time. It has previously been in London, Glasgow and Nottingham

The Grade 1 listed Slaughterhouse dates back to 1831, and has been standing derelict for nearly 20 years. Developers Urban Splash along with the PVAC will enhance the building for use as exhibition space, as part of the long-term plan for full redevelopment of the Prince William yard. Work is expected to be completed by August, so here is time for the exhibition to be put into place.

The space will be managed by Plymouth Arts Centre while BAS7 is on display – as part of its new strategy to curate exhibitions in alternative venues and build on its reputation as a promoter of contemporary art in the City.

The go-ahead for the project is a major coup for Plymouth and represents one of a legacy of economic benefits set to be generated by BAS7, which will take place from 17th September to 4th December, featuring the work of 39 of the most cutting edge and influential artists on the contemporary British scene.

Chair of PVAC, Professor David Coslett,  Dean of Arts at the University of Plymouth, described the award as a significant contribution to the cultural life of the city and a confidence boost for Plymouth. “As with the America’s Cup, the British Art Show will enhance Plymouth’s reputation as a place which can deliver high calibre national and international events. The British Art Show will have a resounding impact on Plymouth as a whole. It will give local people, school pupils and visitors the chance to experience a jaw-dropping collection of the most exciting artwork in Britain. The transformation of the Slaughterhouse building is a sign of the huge organisation and planning going into the arrival of the show on September 17th.

Our partners – especially Plymouth City Council and Arts Council England – have given tremendous support. In order to be a host city we have had to demonstrate to the Hayward Gallery London, which organises the show, that we had the capacity and quality of exhibition space that would meet their demanding criteria. To achieve this, we’re effectively turning a charming but redundant urban building into a world-class venue. It’s a fantastic opportunity to do something unique and creative and we’re delighted with the Arts Council award.”

Arts Council England’s Director for the South West, Phil Gibby says:

“Our funding will enable the development of a space at Royal William Yard, a vital component of the network of venues which make it possible for Plymouth to host the British Art Show. The Show will bring the best of cutting edge contemporary art to Plymouth, attracting thousands of visitors and benefiting the people of Plymouth and further afield.”

Will Hoare, from Gillespie Yunnie Architects says: “Our design for the building will use the existing fabric as a backdrop for the art work and will create a series of spaces for the different works, along with improved access, lighting, heating and a reception area. We have worked closely with PVAC and a team from the Hayward to ensure the design meets their requirements, whilst also ensuring that our proposals are appropriate for the Grade I Listed building and at the same time creating an exciting space to view this highly regarded exhibition of contemporary British art.”

Nathan Cornish, Urban Splash Director says: “We are thrilled to have the British Art Show at Royal William Yard. As the show only happens every five years, Plymouth has done really well to secure it. We’ve earmarked Slaughterhouse as the venue for the event and are looking forward to hearing which of the 39 artists’ work will be shown at the Yard. Whichever come here it’s guaranteed to be fresh, contemporary and undoubtedly provocative. ”


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