The Public gallery faces crunch funding decision

West Bromwhich’s troubled exhibition space The Public is preparing for a crunch decision on future funding.



West Bromwhich’s troubled exhibition space The Public is preparing for a crunch decision on future funding.


The gallery, which has never opened, will next week present a new business plan to the Arts Council, which is considering withdrawing investment.


The Arts Council will meet with members of the two management structures which run The Public and the gallery, before deciding whether to withdraw or raise investment. It had promised £500 000 a year to the gallery until the 2010-11 financial year.


‘The gallery is not fulfilling its side of the bargain – it is not acceptable for it have been closed for this long,’ says an Arts Council spokeswoman.


The gallery contains 12 digital interactive exhibits by groups including Blast Theory and All of Us. However, due to technical hitches, it has remained closed since the rest of arts and cultural centre The Public, designed by architect Will Alsop, opened in July.


Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has parachuted consultant David Clarke in as project director of The Public. Clarke is masterminding the new business plan, which is likely to suggest launching a tender to find a single company to run both elements of the arts centre.


The Arts Council is sending a group of artists to the gallery before the meeting, to ascertain whether the digital exhibits are still contemporary enough to warrant funding from the council.


Mass user-testing that had been scheduled for September has still not happened, the gallery admits.







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