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New programme to create must-see contemporary art in south west museums

  • Date: 17 February 2011
  • Area: South West

Six museums across the south west of England are to join forces with contemporary artists as part of an ambitious Grants for the arts funded programme by Renaissance South West, the government's investment programme for regional museums.

The New Expressions initiative aims to create high quality, participative projects and compelling visitor experiences.

New Expressions aims to reach over half a million museum visitors in 2011-12, and will offer three and a half thousand people, young and old, the chance to take part in high quality activities.

The programme aims to demonstrate that museums are engines for creativity - great places to see, enjoy and participate in high-quality contemporary art inspired by museums' collections and sites.

By involving some of the most important and stimulating artists in the country today, the programme, together with initiatives such as the British Art Show 7, which comes to Plymouth in late 2011, sets out to raise the standing of the south west as a must-visit destination for contemporary art.

This initiative, New Expressions 2, builds on the first New Expressions programme, which saw museums work with contemporary artists across the south west in 2008.

This time round, venues from the Renaissance museums 'Hub' will be joined by three further museums selected as part of a competitive process. And for the first time, New Expressions will link with similar projects in other parts of the UK, drawing on the best national examples of this kind of work.

Raj Pal, Programme Director at Renaissance South West, said: 'South west museums offer immense possibilities for artists. The best are creative hubs, not only telling stories but nurturing a range of different voices, igniting debates and spurring imaginative journeys. By working with contemporary artists, New Expressions will unlock unexpected meanings and connect with audiences in fascinating new ways. It will put south west museums firmly on the map for exhilarating contemporary art'.

Arts Council England Director for the South West, Phil Gibby said: 'This promises to be an exciting programme that will give new audiences of all ages the opportunity to engage with both contemporary arts and historic collections. The project will create a dialogue between artists and museum collections that will help people to connect with both these areas in a new way'.