Special events and new opening times for Aberdeen Art Gallery ahead of redevelopment

29 January 2015

Aberdeen Art Gallery's opening hours are set to change from next week [Monday 02 February] to allow staff to prepare for a major decant of the Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall, ahead of the significant redevelopment of the venues, which will start in spring [2015].

As of Monday [Mon 02 Feb] the opening hours of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall will be:

  • Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm
  • Sunday 1pm-4pm
  • Closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

The Gallery and Cowdray Hall will close to visitors on Monday 02 March 2015 and is due to re-open winter 2017.

The first in a series of special events planned in the remaining months is a Behind the Scenes Tour of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall, which offers the public a chance to learn more about the preparations for the redevelopment of the buildings.

The 45 minute tours are free but must be booked in advance by telephoning the gallery on 01224 523677. The tours will be held at the following times:

  • Saturday 07 February - 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm

A final Lunchbreak Concert in the Cowdray Hall will be held on Saturday 28 February and a special weekend of activities will see the Art Gallery open to the public, for an After Hours event on the evening of Friday 27 March and a Family Day, from 2pm on Saturday 28 March. Full details are available at www.aagm.co.uk

Deputy leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Marie Boulton said: "The redevelopment project - Inspiring Art and Music - will rejuvenate and improve our three much-loved buildings; the Gallery, Cowdray Hall and War Memorial Court. It will allow more of the city's magnificent collections to be displayed and provide a better experience for people, whether they are living or visiting here.

"We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund will contribute £10 million towards the £30 million project and the remainder will come from Aberdeen City Council and fundraising donations."

Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums manager Christine Rew said: "While Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed we look forward to welcoming visitors to a continuing programme of art and music at the city's two museum venues; the Tolbooth Museum and Aberdeen Maritime Museum, and at other venues in the city, Aberdeenshire, nationally and internationally."

A new programme of History and Art exhibitions is scheduled for Aberdeen Maritime Museum, which will be accompanied by a series of talks. The Cowdray Hall's popular weekly Lunchbreak Concerts will have a temporary home at Aberdeen Citadel with several concerts also due to take place at St Andrew's Cathedral.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is delighted to be working with the National Trust for Scotland to show work from the city's collection in a specially created gallery at Drum Castle.

Staff have also been working with the local business community to take contemporary art works to an even wider audience within retail outlets in the city.

Looking further afield curators are involved in an exciting programme which will see works from the collection on display at home and abroad including the Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, The Fleming Collection, London and Drents Museum in the Netherlands.

The development will create a world class cultural centre which celebrates art and music and is at the heart of civic and cultural life. Visitors can look forward to 21 gallery spaces in place of the existing 11, a new rooftop gallery to showcase international-quality exhibitions, two new education suites and a community gallery.

The project will see a sensitive upgrading of the Cowdray Hall and integrate it more effectively with the Gallery creating new opportunities for visitors to engage in both art and music. It also encompasses the War Memorial Hall which will be carefully treated to reflect both its role as a space for quiet contemplation and as the home for the civic act of remembrance.

The redevelopment has been designed by award winning architects, Gareth Hoskins Architects, who recently completed the renovation of the National Museum of Scotland - with input from public consultations. It represents an important chapter in the history of the building which was designed in 1885 by Alexander Marshall Mackenzie.

For further details, the public can visit the Tumblr site dedicated to the redevelopment: www.inspiringartandmusic.tumblr.com which, will be regularly updated with blogs throughout the closure period. This site also includes frequently asked questions and will provide opportunities to provide comments including via Facebook and Twitter.