April 4, 2024 by Rikki Thompson
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Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Alderman Margaret Tinsley welcomed Minister Jacob Young to the F.E McWilliam Gallery & Studio in Banbridge to discuss and view expansion plans for the art and tourism facility following the successful £3.6m levelling up fund bid.

The expansion plans will transform the facility by providing additional exhibition space to increase visitor capacity while creating and create more engaging opportunities to host events and educational programmes.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Margaret Tinsley commented:

“I’m delighted to welcome Minister Young to the fantastic facility for an update on the current development plans to extend the gallery and studio.

“Since opening in 2008 F.E McWilliam Gallery & Studio has provided opportunities for local and international visitors to experience not only the artwork from the renowned artist Frederick Edward McWilliam but also a variety of world class artists.

“The levelling up funding is a welcomed investment to capitalise on this tourist facility in Banbridge, a major gateway to our borough and expand the opportunity to explore art and culture for international visitors.”

Minister Jacob received a tour of the tourism facility and heard about the strategic priorities for the gallery and studio going forward.

Minister Jacob Young commented:

“It was fantastic to see the incredible artwork at the F.E McWilliam Gallery and Studio and also hear how the UK Government’s £3.6 million Levelling Up Fund investment is being used to ensure more people than ever can enjoy the great space. This injection of funding is part of the £435 million of levelling up money already committed to help drive long-term improvements across Northern Ireland.

“The investment will boost tourism to the area by making the gallery an even more attractive place for people from around the world to come and see amazing artists, and I can’t wait come back to see it once the work has finished.”

During the visit The Minister also met Chair of the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Kevin Savage, Carla Lockhart MP for Upper Bann and Brian Johnston, Head of Tourism, Arts and Culture at ABC Council.

Funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, the project is supported by an additional £397,000 investment from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Situated along with A1 corridor, the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio opened in 2008 and is dedicated to the memory of sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists. He died in London in 1992 and the executors of his estate donated the sculptor’s studio and its contents to the town of his birth. Featuring a permanent display of McWilliam’s work, temporary exhibitions of Irish and international art, a craft shop, café and the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio attracts over 70,000 local, national and international visitors each year.

For more information on the project plans visit,  www.armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk/femcwilliam/



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