Aberdeen ,

City Council approves costs of hosting British Art Show

Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Commissioning Committee has today (Thursday 27 August) approved the expenditure of £100,000 to host the prestigious British Art Show 9 at Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2021.

The British Art Show (BAS) is the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British Art. It is organised by Hayward Gallery Touring, Southbank Centre, London and is presented in four UK cities every five years.

BAS9 will be exhibited at Aberdeen, Manchester, Plymouth and Wolverhampton Art Galleries. Each participating city contributes a fee of £100,000 which covers all costs associated with organising the exhibition, including fees and expenses payable to curators and artists, transport and technical equipment, specialist support with the installation, publicity materials, a catalogue and a website.

The tour is a major coup for Aberdeen and a first for the city as the redeveloped Art Gallery now has the capacity for the first time to undertake this scale of exhibition.

As part of the Art Gallery’s exhibitions and public engagement programme BAS9 will play a key role in the city’s Socio-Economic Recovery Plan 2021-22. The exhibition is included in the annual calendar of Event365 headline events and will be a driver for the return of local, national and international visitors to the city.

Previous British Art Shows have attracted between 80,000 and 120,000 visitors from the UK and overseas. Post Covid-19 it is expected that this major exhibition will draw visitors to Aberdeen who will spend both time and money at the Art Gallery and elsewhere in the city, boosting the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector.

Audiences of 80,000 over the 13 weeks of the exhibition would equate to a 60% increase on projected visitor figures for the equivalent period.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson said: “The British Art Show is only held every five years therefore it is a real coup for Aberdeen Art Gallery to land such a prestigious exhibition. It is the international standard and scale of exhibition which the Art Gallery was redeveloped to accommodate.

“The committee’s approval today means that Aberdeen City Council will meet the costs of hosting BAS9 enabling the very best of British contemporary art being accessible to our citizens on their very own doorstep and a visitor attraction that will draw tens of thousands to the city.

BAS9 is a key aspect of the 365events programme for 2021 and will play a significant role in the city’s Socio-Economic recovery next year and beyond as it will attract tens of thousands of local, national and international visitors to the city. This is great news for our citizens and visitors alike and for businesses here in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas. In these challenging times the BAS9 is something that we can all look forward to post COVID.”

The Art Gallery team will work closely with VisitAberdeenshire, VisitScotland and other agencies to maximise opportunities to promote the exhibition and the city.

The British Art Show’s visit to the city also has the potential to kick start a regeneration of cultural activity in Aberdeen through ‘fringe’ events.

All partners are in regular discussions about the UK tour and how the exhibition

can be adapted to comply with Covid-19 guidance.

British Art Show 9 – new touring dates:

6 March - 30 May 2021- Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art

3 July - 3 October 2021 - Aberdeen: Aberdeen Art Gallery

6 November 2021 - 13 March 2022 - Plymouth: The Box, Plymouth; KARST; The Arts Institute’s Levinsky Gallery and The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

6 May - 4 September 2022 - Manchester: HOME; Manchester Art Gallery; Castlefield Gallery; The Whitworth and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA).