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University of Hertfordshire’s art exhibition programme announced for new museum and gallery

The St Albans Museum + Gallery

The St Albans Museum + Gallery

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UH Arts has announced its exhibition programme for the new St Albans Museum + Gallery, which opens later this week.

A look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOOA look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOO

The restored St Albans Town Hall opens to the public as a world-class museum and gallery on Friday, June 8.

Hatfield’s University of Hertfordshire, St Albans City and District Council and the St Albans Museum and Galleries Trust have worked together for over 10 years to replace the former university gallery and city museum in Hatfield Road with a new international quality resource with an exciting and innovative programme.

Set to be a national centre for arts and culture at the heart of one of Britain’s most historic cities, the new St Albans Museum + Gallery will be free to all visitors.

It aims to showcase over 2,000 years of priceless heritage and host cutting-edge art exhibitions, sharing local, national and world treasures with all.

A final look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOOA final look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOO

Chris McIntyre, Dean of Cultural Affairs at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The university is delighted that its long-term partnership with the City of St Albans and the St Albans Museum and Galleries Trust has culminated in the creation of this fantastic cultural resource.

“The galleries in the Town Hall are 50 metres away from the old St Albans School of Art site on Victoria Street where art and design education and exhibitions commenced in the city over 150 years ago.

“It is fitting that this continuing partnership has created a permanent home for these activities in one of the city’s best-known buildings.”

For the St Albans Museum + Gallery opening, the university’s arts centre, UH Arts, has secured the following high profile work for visitors to enjoy:

Gifts inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery gift shop ahead of its grand opening this week. Picture: DANNY LOOGifts inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery gift shop ahead of its grand opening this week. Picture: DANNY LOO

• Lyndall Phelps, Abi Spendlove and Katy Gillam-Hull will present Accumulate – a showcase of artworks and artefacts created over three years responding to the intriguing history of the museum.

Katy is a recent graduate from the Contemporary Design Craft programme at University of Hertfordshire.

She creates exquisite jewellery and objects that act as contemporary relics. Katy works in copper and often incorporates found objects into her work.

• Lyndall Phelps will also present new commission Flutter – artwork which will spread throughout the museum and is inspired by the Alexander Hopkins British Butterfly Collection, which was once part of St Albans Museums’ collection.

The history of printing in St Albans on display in the Weston Gallery inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery. Picture: DANNY LOOThe history of printing in St Albans on display in the Weston Gallery inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery. Picture: DANNY LOO

Lyndall is a renowned artist and museology. Her interest in absent objects within museum collections led her to the remarkable Alexander Hopkins British Butterfly Collection, once on display in St Albans and now cared for by Maidstone Museum.

Her playful intervention invites a flock of kaleidoscopic, decorative butterflies back into the build.

• Susie MacMurray will present new installation Masquerade – impactful artwork made with surprising materials that responds to the architecture of the spectacular Assembly Room.

The history of printing in St Albans on display in the Weston Gallery inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery. Picture: DANNY LOOThe history of printing in St Albans on display in the Weston Gallery inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery. Picture: DANNY LOO

UH Arts head Annabel Lucas said: “UH Arts is delighted to be working in partnership with St Albans Museum + Gallery.

“We bring 20 years of exhibition curation expertise to create exhibitions that respond to this unique building, collections and audiences.

“Our collaboration with colleagues at the museum offers countless possibilities.

“We will bring a range of surprising and innovative displays and projects, uniting the old and the contemporary.”

A look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOOA look inside the new St Albans Museum + Gallery ahead of its grand opening. Picture: DANNY LOO

Later in 2018, UH Arts has confirmed Hayward Touring will present Hand Drawn, Action Packed, an exhibition bringing together 10 major international artists.

This exhibition will open at St Albans Museum + Gallery, before touring throughout the UK.

Artists featured include Marcel Dzama, Marcel van Eeden, Inci Eviner, Yun Fei Ji, William Kentridge, Nalini Malani, Otobong Nkanga, Raymond Pettibon, Amy Sillman and Rinus Van de Velde.

The museum project has been made possible with funding from St Albans Council, an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a special partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.

Richard Shwe, deputy chief executive (commercial and development) at St Albans Council, said: “There will be something for everyone, from displays featuring the fascinating medieval and Roman heritage of St Albans to cutting-edge art exhibitions set to generate interest nationally.

“The stunning building will also act as a gateway to other local attractions, directing visitors to St Albans Cathedral, Verulamium Museum and the Roman Theatre, for example.

“The new museum and gallery is sure to become a major attraction, helping to boost the local visitor economy and rejuvenate the cultural heart of our city.”

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