The Public gallery is ‘not worth the entry price’

The Public’s interactive gallery ‘is not worth the entry price’, according to the Arts Council, which refused further funding to the beleaguered West Bromwich arts centre yesterday.



The Public’s interactive gallery ‘is not worth the entry price’, according to the Arts Council, which refused further funding to the beleaguered West Bromwich arts centre yesterday.


The Public presented a revised business proposal to the Arts Council on Tuesday, but failed to impress by requesting a funding boost of £1m a year from 2011.


The Arts Council is also disappointed that the plan did not propose an opening date for interactive art exhibition the Public gallery, which has been plagued by technical problems since last summer.


The funding body is also unhappy with the feedback it received from an envoy of artists it sent up to inspect The Public gallery last week.


A spokeswoman for the Arts Council says, ‘Our independent assessments of the artworks concluded that it was not worth the admission price of £6 per person. It is a great shame that the artistic vision has not been realised there.’


The gallery consists of 12 digital interactive artworks, commissioned about five years ago.


The spokeswoman adds, ‘Although the artists thought the show was different, engaging and fun, they also found that the gallery was not as cutting-edge as we had hoped, and that the entry cost and visitor numbers as set out in the business plan were not realistic.’


UK art group Blast Theory created digital exhibit Flypad, which contains Pan Tilt Zoom cameras that enable visitors to ‘fly’ through the building and view various floors.


Blast Theory artist Nick Tandavanitj says, ‘We have poured so much energy into this. The work we make isn’t always about using the most recent graphics technology, but is more about bringing together unusual components.


‘As far as I am aware this is the only artwork to use Pan Tilt Zoom cameras. Although technology has moved on since the gallery was conceived, it would be a shame to lose all these interesting artworks.’


The Arts Council has promised Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council a one-off payment of £3m to help keep The Public open.


The spokeswoman says, ‘It is up to The Public to decide what is going to happen to the gallery, but there will have to be some sort of quality art offering to justify this £3m payout.’


The Public declined to comment.


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