Tate St Ives is one of eleven museums and galleries in the East and South of England to receive an award from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund 2004/05. The fund is to help improve the quality of their displays, access and environmental controls.
Arts Minister Estelle Morris announced the award of over £850,000, of which £185,000 will come to Tate St Ives. The award will contribute towards the implementation of sun-screening and a main lighting system in the gallery.
Tate St Ives has operated without sun-screening (employing the traditional technique of white washing its gallery windows) and with a secondary track-based lighting system since it opened in 1993. This has at times limited what could be shown in the galleries and has meant that best use could not be made of the excellent day-lit rooms. This is a particular loss in a gallery that celebrates art influenced by the particularly beautiful qualities of light in West Penwith.
This new system will allow Tate St Ives to exhibit art – and in particular paintings and sculpture of the St Ives school – in exclusively day-lit conditions for a substantial part of the year.
Director of Tate St Ives, Susan Daniel McElroy, said of the award: Tate St Ives is in the process of developing Phase 2 and this award will allow us to present light-sensitive works of art in major exhibitions whenever we wish to without risk to the works.
Notes to Editor
Tate St Ives opened in 1993 and has exceeded is original visitor number projections of 75,000 many times over in each successive year. 2003 was one of Tate St Ives most successful years: over 200,000 visits were made.
Designs for sun-screening and main lighting exist and the architectural design of the galleries anticipated their introduction. Cable ways for the electrical supply and control of sun-screening are already in place.
The fixed (whitewash-based or permanent blackout) sun control measures will be replaced with controllable blind systems.