COMPTON Verney Art Gallery and Park has been awarded £460,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help it face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.
The venue first closed its doors to the public for the initial lockdown in March 2020, meaning earned income immediately reduced by 95 per cent.
Since then, it has reopened its grounds in June 2020 and also the galleries briefly – between July and November last year, ensuring social distancing.
But with the limited access and Compton Verney unable to offer events, hire, corporate sponsorship, weddings, retail and catering, the income continued to be devastated by the pandemic.
Along with replacing vital lost income, this Culture Recovery Fund grant will be used to support a wide range of initiatives as the ‘one’ Compton Verney brand is developed.
This will include the launch of a young person’s project, research into the collections so new narratives can be developed and links to more diverse audiences made with in-gallery and online interpretation.
It will also help reintroduce volunteers and fund the necessary PPE, cleaning, security and staff training.
Compton Verney CEO Director Julie Finch said: “This is brilliant news, the Government has thoughtfully, through DCMS and ACE, has shown that arts and culture have a vital role to play in the national recovery story.
“This funding is a lifeline for us, and will enable us to continue working hard to support our communities through learning, wellbeing and cultural engagement as we piloting our way through this tremendously challenging time.
“We are grateful to our visitors, communities, our partners and suppliers who have remained loyal to Compton Verney.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, added: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.
Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic.
“These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.
“We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
Compton Verney was also successful during the first round of awards from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, receiving £980,000 in October 2020.
That grant supported business development; the implementation of a new catering offer (being first introduced this coming Easter weekend) and supported the winter programme across the site allowing access to the grounds.
The grounds are also being developed through artistic redesign of the play area. Vitally the grant also included income to offset losses, the same as this new grant will do.
Compton Verney is now preparing for its exciting 2021 season, which will see two major exhibitions by the remarkable, self-taught painter Mary Newcomb and contemporary artist, Rebecca-Louise Law.
They will open on May 18, provided the road map out of lockdown continues to go to plan.
There will also be a series of complementary activities and events.
For more information about the workshops and lectures, plus current and future exhibitions as well as a jam packed grounds programme follow Compton Verney on its Twitter page, Instagram page or Facebook page.
Alternatively, visit comptonverney.org.uk