BP ploughs £1m into new exhibition spaces at art gallery

Oil giant BP is ploughing £1 million into new exhibition spaces at a city art gallery currently undergoing renovation.

The BP Galleries at Aberdeen Art Gallery will host three special exhibitions each year by UK and international artists.

The galleries are to be located on the venue’s new second floor, which is due to open to the public this autumn.

The BP Portrait Award will also return to the gallery in 2020, as part of the funding agreement.

BP Group chief executive Bob Dudley said: “We are proud that BP’s support for arts and culture in the UK stretches back more than five decades.

“Through our long-standing relationships with major centres like the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company, we enable access to excellence in the arts for millions of people.

“Today’s commitment adds the Aberdeen Art Gallery to the list of great institutions we support, in a city that is home for our people, our business and the community we are a part of.”

Under the redevelopment project, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Remembrance Hall are being transformed into a major cultural attraction in the centre of the city.

The revamp involves “significant investment” in the fabric of the buildings, new exhibition and display galleries, improved visitor facilities and an enhanced activity programme, officials said.

Barney Crockett, Marie Boulton and Bob Dudley
Lord Provost Barney Crockett, Councillor Marie Boulton, and BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley in Aberdeen for the announcement (Norman Adams, Aberdeen City Council)

The project has received £10 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £10 million from the city council, while the campaign to secure the remaining £10 million has so far raised £4.8 million.

Aberdeen’s Lord Provost Barney Crockett said: “Today’s investment by BP means that a new generation of visitors will experience and engage with exhibitions of the highest quality in contemporary surroundings which meet the needs of the 21st century visitor and complements the architecture of the original Victorian building.”

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman, said: “When it reopens in autumn this year, Aberdeen Art Gallery will be the city’s most inspiring, accessible and welcoming public building.

“We are thrilled that BP is supporting the revitalised art gallery and we look forward to working with them in the coming years to share inspiring art with our visitors, including the BP Portrait Award.”

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