Contemporary art gallery and studios secures £130,000 investment from Arts Council England. Dorothy Wilson MBE, former Director of mac Birmingham, becomes Chair. Plans to secure long-term future for Grand Union

Grand Union, the contemporary art gallery and artists’ studios based in Digbeth, Birmingham, has secured £130,000 from Arts Council England. The award will be used to finance new exhibitions and artistic projects over the next two years.

In addition, Grand Union has appointed Dorothy Wilson MBE as Chair of its Board of Directors. Dorothy Wilson was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of mac Birmingham until 2016. She is Chair of Culture Central, previously served on the Board of Arts Council England, and is now heavily in demand as an independent consultant for the arts sector.

The Arts Council award and appointment of Dorothy Wilson signify moves by Grand Union to secure its long-term future. 

Founded in 2010 by a group of fifteen artists and curators, Grand Union has grown to become an instrumental player in the recent regeneration of Digbeth as Birmingham’s ‘creative quarter’. In addition to providing an exhibition space for emerging contemporary artists and curators, Grand Union is home to some of the city’s best artist studios and currently hosts internationally-known artists including Stuart Whipps and Juneau Projects. 

Alongside Friction Arts and Eastside Projects, Grand Union is credited with founding the popular Digbeth First Friday event, which now attracts hundreds of visitors every month.

Cheryl Jones, Director of Grand Union, commented: “This investment from Arts Council England is a vote of confidence in our work. Grand Union is recognised nationally and internationally as an important voice in contemporary art, and one of very few arts organisations in the UK that actively develop and support emerging curators in their chosen career. The future looks bright and over the next two years we have plans to work with artists including Liz Magic Laser (USA), Alex Cecchetti (France), Seecum Cheung (Coventry/Netherlands), Rory Pilgrim (Netherlands) and Susie Green (Newcastle). We will launch a new curatorial development programme that provides training and employment opportunities for young people and will work with a range of partners including University of Birmingham, The Feast, Shout Festival and Birmingham LGBT.”

Dorothy Wilson, Chair of Grand Union, added, “Grand Union is a huge asset to Birmingham and my priority as Chair is to secure its long-term future in the city. Our board and staff have visionary ambitions and exciting plans. We are looking to secure a new home for the organisation in the Warwick Bar area of Digbeth, close the HS2 arrival point in the city. Warwick Bar is a conservation area that was home to many canalside factories during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Our ambitions to nurture and support artists, alongside developments to our gallery and our experimental programme of exhibitions and events, combine to focus our determination to be a leading agent in the 21st century creative revolution.”




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