With support from Spring, Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury will hold its very first public exhibition this Wednesday to showcase its transformational £8.5m redevelopment.
The “Reviving an Artist’s Birthplace” project seeks to attract visitors not only from East Anglia and London, but from across England and abroad. Nowhere else in the world will such a wide collection of Gainsborough’s art, and works by those he inspired, be seen in a single setting.
The project will see the renovation and redisplay of the historic house to interpret, entertain and inspire about the artist, his family and social context. A new, landmark three-storey structure will replace an empty local authority building on a brownfield site next to the house. It will provide spaces for exhibitions, displays and education with four new galleries – a showcase Gainsborough gallery, a landscape studio with panoramic views over Sudbury, a community gallery and a temporary exhibition gallery/performance space.
The project has received high profile attention including from Anna Wintour and Griff Rhys Jones and was commended by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, in her speech on Heritage Lottery Fund earmarking to Parliament in October 2016. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, it has currently secured initial support* for a £4.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a further £2 million from private donors. A shortfall of £2 million needs to be secured within the next year to keep the project on target. If Gainsborough’s House can secure these funds, building work will begin in autumn 2018 and will open to the public in 2021.
The public consultation on 3rd May, which is being managed by Spring, will be the first chance for the local community to meet the recently-announced architects for the project, ZMMA.
ZMMA’s work has included transformational projects at the Watts Gallery, Heath Robinson Museum and the European Galleries of the V&A, which won the Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2016.
Tomorrow’s exhibition will be the first chance for the public to see initial visuals and a to-scale architect’s model, to handle the locally sourced raw brick, flint and silk materials to be used in the build and to see a materials miles map.
It will also be the first and welcomed chance for the public to share their thoughts, comments and ideas on the project. At the exhibition, the public will also be able to gain a better understanding of the many and varied opportunities that this redevelopment will offer Sudbury and the surrounding area, for example in education, apprenticeships and the community gallery.
The exhibition will take place on Wednesday 3rd May 2017 between 3.30pm and 7.30pm at St Peter’s Church, Market Hill, Sudbury CO10 2EH.