Today Virgin Trains will commemorate Tate Liverpools twentieth anniversary by naming a Virgin Pendolino train after it, in what is a rare accolade for a museum or gallery. The dedicated train, unveiled at Liverpool Lime Street station, also marks Virgin Trains commitment to bringing visitors into Liverpool in its year as European Capital of Culture to enjoy cultural attractions such as Tate Liverpool.
Tate Liverpool is the home of the National Collection of Modern Art in the North of England, and the most popular gallery of modern and contemporary art in the UK, outside London. A symbol of the regeneration of Liverpools waterfront, Tate Liverpool has continued to attract in the region of 600,000 visitors a year since it opened in 1988, and so far this year the Gallery has welcomed 879,147 visitors (January - August 2008). These visitors to Tate Liverpool contribute over £16 million to the city region economy every year (annual average for 2006 and 2007).
Tate Liverpool exhibits art from the Tate Collection alongside changing special exhibitions. These major exhibitions, such as Salvador Dali: A Mythology (1998), Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture (2002-03) and Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era (2005) have brought an important national and international focus to the city. To mark Liverpools year as European Capital of Culture Tate Liverpool has presented an ambitious programme including the Turner Prize 2007, the first time the prize has been presented outside London since it began in 1984, and Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900 which attracted over 199,000 visitors in just 14 weeks. Both events attracted global media attention and research has shown that the Turner Prize 2007 contributed more than £10 million to the regions economy. Tate Liverpool is also the proud winner of the Lever Prize 2008, an award for world-class cultural organisations, as chosen by North West business leaders.
Speaking about the event Andrea Nixon, Executive Director of Tate Liverpool said:
Tate Liverpool is an international gallery based in the heart of the region. Of our UK visitors 29% travel to us from outside North West, so it seems opportune for us to be honoured by Virgin Trains who play a major part in bringing visitors into the city to experience its wonderful visual arts offer.
In the wake of an increased profile for Liverpool, greater pride in culture and a positive image for the city, Tate Liverpool is working with its partners to build on the success of 2008. In 2009 we will present a complete rehang of work from the Tate Collection and an exciting special exhibition programme; and in 2010 we hope to present further major exhibitions. Tate Liverpool continues to demonstrate that culture can be a major driver for investment and regeneration in the city; something we look to continue beyond this European Capital of Culture year.