We are delighted that The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum reopens on Saturday 23 July after a dynamic £500,000 re-design, with a weekend schedule of events and activities for the local community and visitors to Cheltenham to enjoy.

The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum

The significant refurbishment of Cheltenham’s leading cultural hub creates a vibrant new arts café and flexible ancillary spaces on the ground floor; the Sir Charles Irving Community Art Gallery on the mezzanine floor; and new artists’ studios on the third floor. The transformation has been jointly funded by the Sir Charles Irving Trust and Cheltenham Borough Council.

The Wilson reopens with a comprehensive cultural programme including its first major exhibition, the acclaimed Body Beautiful: Diversity on the Catwalk, which explores how fashion creatives are embracing inclusivity and body positivity. The exhibition features garments from leading designers including Max Mara, Vivienne Westwood, Dries Van Noten and Jean Paul Gaultier. The free exhibition opens on 23 July and runs until September 2022.

The new Sir Charles Irving Community Gallery hosts the exhibition Breaking The Cycle in collaboration with Star College. Breaking The Cycle guides young people on how to creatively reimagine garments destined for landfill and complements Body Beautiful: Diversity on the Catwalk.

The re-designed ground floor spaces feature replicas of artworks and pieces from The Wilson’s collection by local artists and makers. Fabric panels in the new café lounge area have been created by artist Katie Welsh, and wallpaper produced in other café spaces is  based on designs from the significant Arts and Crafts collection.

A replica of the 1960s shop door portrait of Cheltenham greengrocer Allan Whittern hangs in one of the café areas. The original was a distinctive feature in Suffolk Parade where Mr Whittern ran his grocer’s store from 1932 until his death in 1982. The original door was donated by his family to The Wilson in 1991.

The WOW (World of Wonders) space for families and young children, the Makers’ Space which provides a window into our resident artist’s studio work, and the Arts and Crafts galleries also reopen on 23 July. The galleries have been refreshed and new displays created to narrate the story of Cheltenham. Cheltenham Untold brings to life the town’s history and heritage through the themes of people, place, work and play. The displays will be regularly updated and the community, and visitors, will be invited to vote for stories they would like to see featured. The remaining galleries will reopen on a phased approach based on a programme of refurbishment to improve the experience for all visitors.

The Wilson Art Gallery renovation work

Louis Eperjesi, chair of the board of trustees of The Cheltenham Trust, said: “The trust is pleased to be announcing the reopening date for the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum.

“The reopening hosts a weekend of events, taster sessions and activities for all the community to participate in and enjoy. Everyone is welcome to visit and explore this dynamic new cultural hub for the local community, and visitors to Cheltenham.

“The re-designed Wilson offers a comprehensive cultural programme featuring talks, workshops, creative events, local and national exhibitions and showcases the very best of Cheltenham’s cultural community and history, complemented by vibrant and welcoming café culture.”

Details of the full programme can be found here - Opening weekend of The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum.


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The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
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The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum Cheltenham - exterior

Cheltenham has an outstanding museum and art gallery with a programme of exciting temporary exhibitions and permanent galleries.

The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum reopening weekend
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The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum reopening weekend

The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum reopens on Saturday 23 July with an opening weekend of free taster sessions, activities, events, live music with The Honeymoon Swing Band, and dance from the renowned Boss Morris group, for all the community to enjoy.

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