Oriel Wrecsam, one of the most popular venues for contemporary visual and applied arts in north east Wales, has announced it is relocate. It will leave its current home on Saturday 28 March.
The gallery, which has been based at a library at Rhosddu Road since 1973, hopes to move to a larger, purpose-built space in Wrexham town centre. In the meantime, a series of projects will take place at various venues across the area.
Over the past 40 years the gallery has shown some of the art world’s leading figures, including Mona Hatoum, Shani Rhys James, Joseph Beuys, and Rose Wylie. However, in recent times it has suffered from a lack of investment.
In 2003 plans for a £6m Lottery-funded theatre on the site were cancelled, and in 2010 the gallery lost revenue funded status from the Arts Council of Wales. In 2011 the BBC, a major tenant in the building, announced it was to move to purpose-built studios at Glyndwr University, creating a deficit in the council’s arts budget.
However, current Oriel Wrecsam director Steffan Jones-Hughes believes the latest move is a positive step. He said: “We are really excited by the opportunity for us to work in new ways for the next couple of years, really building the relationship with our audience and taking art to new venues.
“This challenge will help us to increase accessibility and move the town forward as a creative place. It is envisaged that a new centre will open in 2017.”
To celebrate the latest chapter in Oriel Wrecsam’s history there will be a day of activity on 28 March featuring a live DJ, film screenings, a performative walk and the launch of the new Art Vend project. This initiative will see specially commissioned works by local and national artists available to buy from vending machines for just £1 each.
For updates on Oriel Wrecsam activity, follow the gallery on Twitter @OrielWrecsam