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New art exhibition officially launches in the Mander Centre


New art exhibition officially launches in the Mander Centre

A major new art exhibition in the Mander Centre, inspired by Wolverhampton's rich cultural heritage, was officially launched recently at a special event.

The In the City Art Experience is a celebration of the city's past, from its earliest beginnings through to its growth and expansion during the Industrial Revolution and beyond. The exhibition uses artefacts and a timeline inspired by the city's motto “out of darkness cometh light” to showcase how the city’s identity is deeply rooted in its creative history.

The exhibition has been developed by the Centre and the University of Wolverhampton and its curators, Jo Burgess and Liz Grimshaw, are two talented art graduates from the university.

At the launch event, guests heard from the curators as well as representatives from the university and the City of Wolverhampton Council who focused on the city's proud tradition of producing art talent and showcasing art including the pop-art collection at the city’s gallery.

Located on the top mall, the exhibition is one of many projects lined up for the space while Benson Elliot, the owner of the Centre, completes its £35 million refurbishment. The launch of the exhibition coincided with the completion of the mall work in the south end of the Centre.

Jonathan Ratnage, Investment Manager at Benson Elliot, said: “Since establishing our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, we’ve been overwhelmed by the ideas emanating from the students and in particular the vision of Jo Burgess and Liz Grimshaw to produce an exhibition that puts the spotlight on Wolverhampton’s rich history. Our new Mander Centre brand pays homage to this creative heritage.”

“We’re committed to working with partners like the University of Wolverhampton and the City of Wolverhampton Council on more projects in the Centre while we progress with the refurbishment which is due for completion in autumn 2017. It’s important that retail spaces like the Mander Centre can be used in this way and that local shoppers can come in and view an art installation while visiting the shops.”    

Former students create art exhibition in the Mander Centre

Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Wolverhampton has made ambitious strides towards strengthening its position since achieving City status. The ongoing commitment to investing in partnership regeneration projects such as this one is improving economic growth in the area and we are proud to be making a £250 million contribution towards this ambition.

“The launch of this major new exhibition coincides with the University’s seven week long Artsfest programme, celebrating the diversity of creativity across the region through music, dance, drama and art and design. It’s wonderful to see work created by graduates of the University housed in a brand new retail redevelopment project which will attract visitors from all over the region and further afield.”

Keren Jones, City of Wolverhampton Council Service Director for City Economy, said:

“This exhibition captures the strong contemporary and historical links between art and industry. It is also another example of the creative partnerships we have in Wolverhampton, that are helping to attract more than £992 million of investment into the city centre.

“The Mander family name was prominent in the local arts and craft movement that is part of the city’s rich heritage, and it is fitting that this installation tells Wolverhampton’s story of art and creativity as the Mander Centre enters its next chapter with a £35 million redevelopment.”

Located next to New Look on the top floor, the In the City Art Experience is open Monday- Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm until the end of June.

Jo devised the concept for the exhibition, designed and produced the wall panels and has undertaken an extensive research project, which involved collating a vast wealth of artworks, art history, education and exploration from a wide variety of local sources to produce a cohesive and comprehensive portrayal of the City's proud history.  Jo graduated from the Faculty of Arts with BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles in 2014 and is currently undertaking a Masters in Applied Arts with the Faculty.

Liz is currently working for Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage and has enabled access to the city art and archive collections for the exhibition. Liz undertook research and interpretation of artworks, compiled artist biographies and pursued copyright and loan agreements of artefacts. Liz is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts and completed her BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2015, and completed a Postgraduate Award in Marketing at the University of Wolverhampton Business School in 2016.


For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003/322736 or Matt Sutton / Parv Gandham at Camargue on 0121 616 5920

Date Issued: 16th May 2016

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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