Hopes rest on The Box to boost Plymouth's economic recovery

CGI of the Box arts centre in Plymouth - which combines St Luke's church (on right) with the transformed and extended Central Library and City Museum buildings

Plymouth City Council has announced that the new arts centre, The Box, will open its doors in September having postponed its launch in May due to Covid-19.

The Box is the largest multi-disciplinary arts and heritage space to open in the UK in 2020. The council says it is a large part of the city's 'Resurgam' programme, symbolising Plymouth's recovery and helping to set the direction for positive change in the local economy.

Originally three separate buildings, the ground-breaking design of The Box has completely transformed, extended and combined Plymouth's former City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library building and St Luke's Church to create a cutting-edge, interactive cultural centre with 13 new galleries and exhibition spaces, a striking elevated archive, learning and research facilities and a brand new public square.

The Box will open with three major exhibitions:

'Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy' is the largest commemorative Mayflower exhibition in history and will include over 300 objects, being co-curated with the Wampanoag Native American Advisory Committee.

'Making It' is an international contemporary art exhibition featuring newly commissioned works by Antony Gormley, Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes and Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha.

'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools' has been curated in partnership with The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth and Royal Museums Greenwich (image below), and will present a three-channel film work by American artist Kwhinde Wiley in The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth.

Conservative Councillor, Ian Bowyer, said:

'Nine permanent galleries will also showcase our incredible collections and will include 14 monumental ships' figureheads, thousands of natural history specimens, a full-size woolly mammoth replica, paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and ceramics from the city's art collections, objects, film and photography from our media collections and documents, maps and plans from our archives.

'The combination of the newly developed permanent galleries, the exciting temporary exhibitions plus the catering, retail and research facilities mean Plymouth has a top class cultural attraction we can all be extremely proud of'.

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