Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Towner Collection Store Tour (art)

Part of the Towner Collection Store

Membership of the Towner Gallery is something I have been considering for several months but the £30 a year cost had been putting me off. While it’s not a huge amount of money, it is the equivalent of 2 or 3 theatre tickets and cynical me wasn’t sure I’d take advantage of enough extras to make the cost worthwhile. However in a clever piece of marketing, the membership leaflet also offers a direct debit where joining is about the cost of a latte each month. As I’m supposed to be on a post-Christmas slimming kick anyway, this option seemed perfect so I sent off my form!

The membership team are very efficient and I received my new membership card within a few days. It is unusual, an artwork by Jodie Carey comprising of a photographic negative which I can have developed at the end of the year. I also received email invitations to a Collection Store Tour and a Preview of the new Kelly Richardson exhibition. At the time of writing, the Preview has not yet happened, but my Tour was last Thursday afternoon and was a fascinating experience.

There were only three of us. We met up with the lovely Terry and were escorted up to an unassuming white door. At first glance, the Store is surprisingly small. I had not taken into account that much of the work which comes to the Towner is only visiting so does not need to be accommodated permanently but even so, I expected the Store to be much bigger!  However once Terry, ably assisted by Kenny, began choosing paintings to display, I realised how concisely the works are kept. Nothing takes more space than it needs. With amazing knowledge of each picture between them, Terry and Kenny pulled out huge double-sided ‘fences’ hung with Victorian oils, 1960s abstracts, local scenes, imposing portraits, prints and drawings, the obligatory Ravilious(!) and many other names which I would need several Tours to even begin to remember. I spotted some works I had seen in previous exhibitions and others that I hope will be chosen soon. We were encouraged to discuss the paintings and it was interesting to hear everyone’s impressions. We also saw china and a few sculptures and briefly met art restorer, Corinne. The hour passed far too quickly and, although I did offer to stay behind on my own to see more of the Collection, this wasn’t taken up!

One Collection Store Tour is offered free to new Towner members. 
Public Tours are available at £5 for non-members (£4 concessions) with a 25% discount for members. Weekend Tours would probably be much busier than weekdays.
There is further information, including available dates and booking details, on the Towner website.

Huge thanks to Terry and Kenny for such an interesting visit!

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