Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has welcomed the judging panel for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013 to Glasgow, giving staff and members of the public the opportunity to show why the museum should win the prestigious award.
Celebrating the very best UK museums and galleries, the Prize highlights the innovative and creative ways that museums bring objects and collections to life, looking specifically at activity undertaken in 2012.
This year, Kelvingrove is the only Scottish museum to be a finalist having previously been nominated twice since it reopened in 2006, following a £35 million refurbishment. Since then, the museum has welcomed more than 10 million visitors through its doors.
Councillor Archie Graham, the Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The staggering success of Kelvingrove has not been achieved by accident. We work incredibly hard to put on a programme of temporary exhibitions, events and activities that continue to inspire both citizens and visitors alike.
“The people of Glasgow own each and every painting, sculpture and work of art within our world-class collections – and it is only right that we reflect the diverse tastes and passions of Glaswegians in our range of events. Where we have been extremely successful in recent years is in attracting audiences who would normally never visit a museum.
“We’re over the moon to have been nominated for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year and we hope it will be third-time lucky for an attraction that is much loved and admired by the people of Glasgow and Scotland.”
The Museum of the Year judges, including Art Fund director, Stephen Deuchar, the Daily Telegraph’s arts editor, Sarah Crompton, and contemporary visual artist, Bob and Roberta Smith, enjoyed a tour of Kelvingrove and heard details of its wide-ranging programme.
Contemporary artist and activist, Bob and Roberta Smith said of the visit:"Amazing experience. The museum has an incredible historic collection but the really extraordinary aspect is that everything the museum does, its displays, its special exhibitions, is about investing in the people of Glasgow."
Sarah Crompton, Chief Arts Editor at the Telegraph said: “A really invigorating place to visit, full of people clearly enjoying the way the excellent historic collections are presented in immediate and accessible ways. A museum that invests in its visitors with an interestingly diverse exhibition programme.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund and Chair of the judging panel said:"A museum with an august history and great depth of collection - yet uncompromisingly committed to the needs and wants of contemporary visitors."
In 2012, the museum played host to an exhibition on rock supergroup, AC/DC, paying particular attention to the band’s Glasgow connections and a major retrospective on Glasgow’s collection of Italian art, which has been described as the finest civic collection of its kind in the UK. The museum also hosted a Victorian-themed weekend, with musicians, bands and even contortionists delighting visitors. In 2012, the museum also hosted the launch of Glasgow’s bid to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and returned to its concert roots, with musical performances from the Kronos Quartet as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The judges’ visit comes as the museum’s latest temporary exhibition, More Than A Game, continues to attract new audiences to Kelvingrove. The exhibition explores Scotland’s unique part in the history of the beautiful game and the country’s role in developing the game around the world. As part of the exhibition, Kelvingrove will be engaging in its biggest series of events to date, with school tours booked out and a large number of associated events and programmes.
A competition to find the best photographs of the shortlisted museums has also been organised by the Art Fund. From the most innovative and atmospheric – a beautiful image of the façade to a snap of a favourite object, or even something humorous – the winning picture will creatively capture the spirit of the museum. The Art Fund will choose its favourite image from each of the ten museum finalists then hand over to the public to choose the overall winner. More details on how to enter – and the prizes on offer – are available at www.artfund.org/prize
Glasgow Museums and the Art Fund have enjoyed a successful partnership in recent years, including assistance and funding in buying objects for Glasgow’s collection and a hugely successful partnership with the city’s Gallery of Modern Art, which, as part of the Art Fund International scheme, allowed the museum to purchase a series of important international contemporary works.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum will find out if it’s been successful at the awards ceremony at the V&A in London on 4 June. The event will be broadcast live on Radio 4’s Front Row.