F.E. McWilliam Gallery Development Proposal

Closed 1 Jul 2022

Opened 22 Jun 2022

Overview

The F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Studio and Sculpture Garden

The Gallery opened in September 2008 and celebrates the work of internationally celebrated sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam who was born in Banbridge.

The venue currently comprises an exhibition space, a replica of McWilliam’s studio, Quails Café and a small retail space featuring UK & Ireland craft and design. The Gallery is an accredited museum attracting prominent touring exhibitions, including from National Gallery of Ireland and The British Museum.

The Gallery has exceeded original expectations in terms of visitor numbers, reputation and profile. The Gallery attracts in the region of 45,000 visitors annually and has been awarded Tourism Northern Ireland’s 4 star Visitor Experience accreditation. It is recognised for the quality of its programme and excellence of its visitor experience.

Our Development Plan

Now in its 14th year the Gallery needs to be able to recognise its full potential so that it can better engage with our local communities, attract visitors to the town and serve as a key cultural asset for the borough. In order to capitalise on its success the development will address some of the venues current shortcomings:

  • It needs to accommodate more and larger school and community groups in an education/community space
  • It needs to improve access to and display of F.E. McWilliam’s work in a permanent collection gallery
  • It needs to be able to host coach tours on a regular basis, welcoming larger groups of visitors into the town
  • It needs more flexible space for events, workshops, meetings and for hire
  • It needs an extended dining area
  • It needs an enhanced entrance and retail space

We have plans for the development of the Gallery, Studio and Garden which include:

- New gallery space to display F.E. McWilliam’s work currently in storage

- Improved entrance, shop and reception area

- A flexible education and community engagement space

- Increased parking provision including coach parking

- Increased café space

- We also have plans for a sculpture close to the site and visible from the A1 that will create a gateway attraction for Banbridge.

The plans will address our needs and provide for an improved venue, able to welcome more visitors, engage with local communities and bring greater economic return for the town.

The Levelling Up Fund

We are preparing an application to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) so that we can realise this development plan. LUF is a capital only programme in which 10% match funding is encouraged. The deadline for LUF applications is 12.00 noon on the 6th July 2022.

Why your views matter

We are keen to get some feedback on the development of F.E. McWilliam Gallery.

If you could take a few moments to respond to our questions below that would assist in the development of the application for funding which, if successful, would enable this development to progress.

Thank you.