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Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism

First published:
12 May 2023
Last updated:

The development of a National Contemporary Art Gallery for Wales is a commitment in our Programme for Government and in the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. Delivery is being taken forward through a collaboration between the Arts Council of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru and National Library of Wales.

Since my last update to Members, there have been a number of further developments in the design of the model. It will have three distinct characteristics, supported by an online gallery:

  1. A network of galleries across Wales will provide free access to the national collection and bring contemporary art closer to communities.
  2. Host galleries will host the national collection of Welsh art.
  3. An anchor gallery will provide a prominent public face for the national contemporary art gallery.

The national collection belongs to everyone in Wales. This unique model will allow people to explore the collection in their local communities while also ensuring more people across Wales, the UK and even internationally can access to the national collection. It will help boost the visitor economy and support local businesses and jobs.

A huge amount of work has taken place to develop the National Contemporary Art Gallery, including the development of the Celf ar y Cyd website, which will give the public access to the national collection from their home. More than 30,000 images of art will be available from the website from the beginning of June; many have never been on public display before.

Nine venues have been shortlisted as members of the network of galleries where people can view the national collection close to their homes. Each of the venues is undergoing a more detailed assessment.

The venues are:

  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
  • Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
  • MOSTYN, Llandudno
  • Newport Museum & Art Gallery, Newport
  • Oriel Davies, Newtown
  • Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen
  • Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Pwllheli
  • Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin
  • STORIEL, Bangor

Host galleries are those which either currently host or plan to host the national collection and are part of the current infrastructure in Wales. They include Amgueddfa Cymru’s sites in Cardiff and potentially Llanberis and the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth. Their inclusion will further increase access to contemporary Welsh art.

In September 2022, we received a total of 14 expressions of interest from the public sector to become the anchor site for the National Contemporary Art Gallery. Five local authority areas – Wrexham, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Cardiff – were invited to develop their plans further. We will receive the more detailed plans later this month.

In February 2023, we also invited the third sector to submit expressions of interest for any sites which match the criteria for the National Contemporary Art Gallery. Two expressions of interest were submitted and these will now be assessed.