At the heart of the Williamson Art Gallery building was a large courtyard which for many years was disused and overgrown with weeds, an unused space with great potential.
The Friends have now transformed this lost space into a landscaped courtyard, our ‘Green Gallery’, completed in the year that the building turns 90 years old.
Visitors to the gallery can now sit amidst the plants and trees on our fabulous new benches and cafe style seating. It has become a versatile space that may be able to hold small musical concerts, drawing classes or visiting groups of schoolchildren eating their packed lunches and as, the gallery is a licensed wedding venue, bridal parties may wish to take their family photographs with the garden as a backdrop.
The Wirral Museums Service, fully supported by the Friends, provides summer courses for children and also works with disadvantaged groups including people with mental, sensory and physical difficulties so an outside “break-out space” will be a major and essential asset.
The project was beautifully designed by Peter Gommon and David Ainsley (one of our Williamson and Priory Friends Trustees) and we are very grateful for their expertise in producing an accessible and elegant space. We have to thank Ainsley Gommon Architects for their patience in running the contract and Landstruction for carrying out the work to timetable and within their estimate. Additional support and advice was provided by Wirral Borough Council.
So far the £50,000 cost of the garden has been met by generous donations from nine charitable trusts and an enthusiastic response from Friends and members of the public.
The contributing trusts were:
The Williamson and Priory Friends have, in addition, received funds through donations in the gallery, online through JustGiving, and part of the Bugsy Malone gala ticket sales. Many thanks to all our supporters who have given a little or given a larger sum – from a great suggestion – a big project has grown and been made possible by contributions from many sources.
In May 2018, Williamson and Priory Friends won THE Emcees Arts and Culture Awards for Excellence in Fundraising for the Best Campaign under £100K for the Green Gallery.
Many thanks to all involved who made the shoot of an idea flourish. Please take a look at our new video showing the progress.