Swindon’s leading business organisation has pledged its support for a new art gallery and museum in the town centre.
Influence says establishing a new home for the town’s renowned collection of 20th century British art – one of the best in the UK outside of private hands – will make a very significant contribution to its cultural offering.
Influence chair Nicky Alberry said its board is excited that the council, community and business are all pulling together to make this landmark project happen.
An independent report to go to next week’s cabinet meeting looked at four locations around the town centre. Its preferred option is the current Wyvern Theatre car park.
The Swindon collection is now based in the Bath Road museum and art gallery – a building which has room to display just a tenth of the works at any one time.
Influence includes representatives from Swindon Initiative, the Chamber of Commerce, the FSB, major employers and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Ms Alberry said: “We are all very proud and fortunate to have what is generally regarded as the finest collection of 20th century British art outside London right here on our doorsteps.
“But up until now we haven’t been able to give it the size or quality of home that such a wonderful asset deserves. While we are only ever able to see 10% of it out on show, we simply can’t do it justice. But this new project has the ability to change all that.
“Businesses are finding it so appealing because they know that retaining and attracting quality staff depends not just on the jobs and conditions of service they can offer, but also the quality of life that employees and their families are able to enjoy outside of working hours.
“A landmark art gallery and museum will enable Swindon to develop a really excellent, buzzing cultural quarter in the town centre. Influence will do all it can to support this project. We in Swindon tend to be rather modest about our assets, but this project has the potential to be innovative and aspirational and highlight what a fantastic collection we have, and we will be offering whatever entrepreneurial talents we have to help bring it to fruition.”