Ministerial visit marks boost in Gallery fundraising to £2.6million for redevelopment

Aberdeen’s Remembrance Hall renovations were today hailed as important for the city and for Scotland on a ministerial tour.

Rt Hon David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, paid a visit to Aberdeen Art Gallery to glimpse its transformation following the announcement of a £1.6million award by the UK Government.

The award has boosted the fundraising efforts of the Inspiring Art and Music Campaign to 25% of £10million still needed for the radical renovations.

Mr Mundell was specifically shown Aberdeen’s Remembrance Hall by Councillor Laing, which will undergo major enhancements as a result of the award from the Libor Trust announced in the Autumn Statement.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The significant award we have received demonstrates the value of this project not just locally but nationally in Scotland and throughout the UK.

“The Inspiring Art and Music campaign is crucial to developing this city’s cultural economy and to protecting our heritage.

“We need support from everyone in Aberdeen and the North-east in addition to both local and central government and I hope the public will continue to contribute by raising awareness or offering small donation to secure its future.”

Plans for the Remembrance Hall include creating a Gallery of Memories, a digital and interactive display of stories, artefacts and photographs from Aberdeen residents reflecting their experiences during past conflicts.

Work is also ongoing to create a fully digitised version of the City's Rolls of Honour, focusing on lives lost during the First World War to mark the 100 year commemoration.

Lists of names of Aberdonians who lost their lives will be projected on the wall opposite the new commission. The original Rolls of Honour books were on display on a marble shelf in the Remembrance Hall prior to closure, but pages were never turned.

The digitisation project will give visitors the opportunity to actually see people’s names associated with each conflict, including civilian and merchant navy causalities.

In addition, a special new artwork is to be designed to remember Aberdonians who have lost their lives in conflict.

This focal point for remembrance, commissioned by Aberdeen Art Gallery, will become a centrepiece in the Remembrance Hall to honour all those who served in war time and those who remained at home.

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to see the redevelopment of Aberdeen’s remembrance hall today.

“It’s an important project for Aberdeen and the whole of Scotland, and I was delighted that at the Autumn Statement last week, the Chancellor announced around £1.6 million of LIBOR funds to support it.

“It is a very fitting way for us to pay respect to the sacrifice of veterans in both world wars”.

Aberdeen City Council are currently fundraising to secure a further £7.4million for the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and the Remembrance Hall and are appealing to Aberdeen Citizens to help support the transformation.

The entire cost of the project is £30million, with £10million already awarded by Aberdeen City Council and £10million coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As well as refurbishing the buildings, the work, which is due to be completed by the end of 2017, will increase the number of galleries from 11 to 21, establish a new exhibition space to attract the very best visiting artwork from around the world, provide two new education spaces for learners of all ages and create a stunning new rooftop gallery with roof terraces opening up beautiful views of the city.

For more information and to make a donation visit: http://www.aagm.co.uk/Support-Us/Donate.aspx