Grundy Art Gallery celebrates 110th anniversary with programme of special events

20 January 2021

Grundy Art Gallery is delighted to unveil an exciting calendar of events to commemorate its 110th anniversary.

The gallery and its collection was established in 1911 via a financial gift and donation of over 30 paintings by local brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy. 2021 therefore marks the 110th Anniversary of the gallery opening its doors to the people of Blackpool and beyond, and to celebrate this milestone, a number of special exhibitions and events are in store.

Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool

During construction, Blackpool’s coat of arms, which is emblazoned with the word ‘Progress’, was embedded into the brickwork above Grundy Art Gallery’s front door. Guided by this motto, the gallery continues to honour its founding ethos by way of a year-round programme of high quality contemporary art exhibitions and events – and despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, 2021 will be no exception.

Looking back into the past and forward into the future, Grundy Art Gallery’s 110th anniversary activity will chart the important role that the gallery has played historically, while also demonstrating its commitment to remaining at the heart of Blackpool’s artistic life for many years to come.

Winter 2021 online programme 

Grundy Art Gallery is pleased to announce details of its winter programme, which will take place digitally from 16 January – 27 February. It will include the Annual Schools show, the Annual Grundy Art Gallery Open exhibition and a Collection Spotlight exhibition focusing on portraiture. Grundy Art Gallery is also taking this opportunity to launch its 2021 anniversary logo, which will be used to highlight its activity throughout the year.

110th Anniversary Logo 

Marrying the past and present, Grundy Art Gallery’s 110th anniversary logo takes its inspiration from an ink stamp that was historically used to identify items brought into Grundy’s permanent collection. It also echoes the design of Blackpool’s world famous sticks of rock. The logo will take on different colour schemes throughout the year to mark calendar dates of celebration and commemoration, such as LGBT+ History Month and the International Day of People with Disabilities.

Collection Spotlight: Portraits (16 January – 27 February) 

Over the next 5 weeks, images of selected portraits from the Grundy Art Gallery collection will be shared online, accompanied by information about the artists who created them and the subjects they feature. This activity will be supported by an additional programme of digital content such as artist talks and Q&As that will be created with contemporary artists whose works feature in the Grundy Art Gallery collection.

Annual Schools Exhibition: Portraits 

By necessity, this year’s Schools Exhibition is taking on a new shape. Instead of inviting pupils into the building to be inspired by the art on display, participating school children have been invited to produce work remotely that will then be exhibited online. Inspired by some of the principles of portrait painting and by works from Grundy Art Gallery’s collection, local school children have been invited to create their own self-portraits, incorporating items that reflect their identity and the things they are passionate about.

Grundy Art Gallery’s winter 2021 focus on portraiture has been inspired by some of the many changes that COVID-19 has brought to our daily lives. The mandated use of face masks has not only changed how we appear to others but also how we look to ourselves. Our increased use of digital communications means our image is being reflected back at us many times over by our multiple mirror-like screens, and more time spent at home has raised our awareness of the environments that we live in, the things we surround ourselves with and the role that they play in defining our identity.

Open 2021 

For 2021, Grundy Art Gallery’s annual open submission exhibition goes online to celebrate the wealth of creative talent across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast. Aiming to make the exhibition as open as possible, this annual opportunity invites all residents aged 18 years and over from eligible postcodes to submit work for display. As a result of this year’s necessary changes to the format, applicants have been invited to submit images of their works which will then be hosted online on Grundy Art Gallery’s website.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture said: “Culture and creativity are a vital part of everyday life, and perhaps even more so in challenging times. I am delighted, therefore, to be celebrating Blackpool’s very own Grundy Art Gallery which has been at the forefront of this important work for 110 Years.”

While current COVID-19 restrictions mean that the building is closed to the public, the Grundy Art Gallery team are working hard behind the scenes developing and sharing content via the gallery’s new website and its social media platforms. For further information, and to access the digital programme, visit www.thegrundy.org and sign up to the gallery’s regular newsletter, or follow the Grundy Art Gallery via Twitter (@grundyblackpool) and Instagram (@grundyartgallery).

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