Tower Museum to showcase Council top art collection

Some of the artwork on display.
Some of the artwork on display.

The Tower Museum will host a special exhibition of works this month selected from Council’s extensive and eclectic collection of art.

The exhibition will launch on April 17 and run until June 30, featuring a range of pieces from an array of emerging and established artists from across the world.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor John Boyle said: “Over the years the museum has accrued an extensive collection of items that have been gifted to the Museum Service or purchased over the years.

“For example the Andrew Nicholl and Hugh Thompson items were purchased with assistance from the Northern Ireland Museum Council’s Specimen Purchase Fund. A number of pieces were also gifted from the Northern Ireland Arts Council as well as items that were originally part of the Orchard Gallery and the North West Arts Trust collections.

“This is a great opportunity for local people to view what is a treasure trove of art works and an important part of the city’s cultural heritage.”

Archivist with the museum Bernadette Walsh, continued: “Here at the Tower we collect, record, conserve and curate art works with a view to making our collections available to the public.

“Much of our art collection is retained in storage so this is a great opportunity to view and appreciate the pieces that usually remain behind the scenes. The collections include everything from landscapes and portraits to abstracts and still life studies. There are works from some notable artists and many representations of historical moments in time, so the collection will be of interest to both history and art lovers.”

The Council’s art collection could certainly be described as varied, dating back to the late 1970s when the City Council was putting together plans for a gallery and museum space for the city. The Orchard Gallery opened in Derry in 1978 and from its outset aimed to exhibit a range of emerging and established artists. Until its closure in 2003 the gallery maintained a high profile in the art world, and today the city is served by a number of ground breaking visual art galleries.

The Tower Museum itself opened in 1992 as a community facility offering a forum for the understanding of the diverse history that exists in our region and collecting art is part of that focus.

A programme of events will also take place around the exhibition, including a keynote lecture by Declan McGonagle, the first Director of the Orchard Gallery, and a series of Art Panels chaired by Brendan McMenamin and Declan Sheehan that will look at how art is collected, and how art has developed in the city over the years. Anna Leisching, Curator of the Ulster Museum, National Museums NI will also facilitate a lecture on how museums collect and care for art. Family events and workshops will also be available.

The exhibition will be launched at the Tower Museum at 7pm, to register attendance please contact 028 71372411.