Lottery funding of nearly £1 million will turn Kirkcudbright Town Hall into a modern art gallery to showcase the town’s unique heritage.
With the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the town hall will be transformed into a modern gallery bringing together works by members of the Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists as well as recent artists based in Kirkcudbright.
The new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery will be able to show nationally significant collections such as the Glasgow Boys, Scottish Colourists and the Galloway Viking Hoard, as well as the output of artists currently working in the town.
Galloway MP Richard Arkless said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £931,000 to help transform Kirkcudbright Town Hall into a modern art gallery.
“No other small town in Scotland has influenced Scottish art more than Kirkcudbright and it is only right that this history be recognised in the form of a permanent gallery.
“Kirkcudbright is still very much a town for art lovers and has a full calendar of artistic activities throughout the year.
“This gallery will complement all the hard work done by the local community and will boost the local area both economically and culturally. Well done to everyone involved in this project, I look forward to the first exhibition!”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson commented: “This is great news for everyone that has worked so hard over many years to bring a first class gallery to Galloway’s Arts Town.
“I am fully aware that the project continues to have some critics, but the awarding of this grant means that it is time to move on and plan together for an exciting future in the town which has made such a significant contribution to the past history of Scottish Arts. That contribution can now be continued.”
SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod added: “I am delighted at this news, which brings the creation of a permanent art gallery of national significance for Kirkcudbright a step closer.
“At present Kirkcudbright 2000 do a fantastic job of creating a temporary gallery in the Town Hall every year for the summer exhibition.
“But the creation of a permanent gallery creates a year-round attraction which will not only be good for Kirkcudbright but will serve as a major attraction for the wider region too.”
Councillor Tom McAughtrie, chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Community and Customer Services Committee, said: “Building the local economy is the number one priority for our Council.
“Given the growth of cultural tourism, the Kirkcudbright Art Gallery project offers our region significant, long-term and sustainable economic impact.
“This award from the Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting as it will enable us to develop a fabulous facility for the people of Dumfries and Galloway and for visitors to our region.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said, “HLF is delighted to support this transformational project, which will give Kirkcudbright an art gallery worthy of the exceptional art works it will house.
“The future of the historic town hall has been secured and not only will it attract more tourists to the area but will benefit the wider community as they’re encouraged to explore and enjoy the area’s rich art heritage.
“It’s thanks to players of the National Lottery that we have been able to help make this happen.”
Work on the gallery is scheduled to start in Spring 2016 with the gallery scheduled to open in Summer 2017.
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s aims are to not only preserve historic features, but also to engage people in their heritage and help to bring economic prosperity to the area, and the country.