The Public Gallery closes before it opens

The Public Gallery has announced it is to cease trading and pull out of West Bromwich arts centre The Public.

In a statement issued yesterday, the company – which was set up to deliver the artistic and cultural elements of The Public –says that it is no longer ‘able to trade’ or be ‘financially sustainable’.

The gallery space – believed to be in administration – was never opened to the public due to technical difficulties with the digital installations.

The news comes a week after the Arts Council determined that the gallery’s entry cost and visitor numbers as set out in its business plan were not realistic.

The Public Gallery statement adds, ‘Following the recent assessments and given the current economic climate it has not been possible for the Arts Council to create a rescue package that would enable The Public Gallery to cover its loss of trading income.’

The Public Gallery notified the Arts Council and Sandwell Council in September last year that the continued delays in completion would make it financially unsustainable.

It denies making applications for further funding to the Arts Council, contrary to reports.

The Public – the building and arts centre designed by architect Will Alsop – will continue to be project-managed by Sandwell Council, which is overseeing completion of the gallery space and technical infrastructure.

The Public Gallery has been a tenant of The Public building, which is owned by the council.

The Public Gallery featured 12 works by designers including interactive consultancy All of Us, interior designer Ben Kelly and artists Blast Theory, Usman Haque and Marie Sester.

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