Manchester's beloved gallery, The Whitworth, part of The University of Manchester, reopens its doors this Valentine's Day following a £15 million redevelopment that has transformed the 125 year old building into a 21st century gallery in the park.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The University of Manchester and other funders, the project has doubled public space and created new state-of-the-art facilities including expanded gallery areas, a study centre, learning studio, and a collections centre.
It will open its doors this Saturday, leading with a major solo exhibition from one of Britain's most acclaimed contemporary artists, Cornelia Parker – with an ongoing programme, celebrating the Whitworth's electric and extensive collection of historical and contemporary fine art, textiles and wallpapers.
At the heart of the redevelopment is the creation of an elegant glass, stainless steel and brick extension, which sees two wings extend into Whitworth Park from the back of the existing 19th century building. Between these two wings is a new Art Garden and they're both connected by a glass promenade gallery that overlooks the surrounding landscape.
Dr Maria Balshaw, director of The Whitworth, said: "We have long held the view that the gallery and the park should be a unified experience for our visitors. Our new building makes this a reality. The opening programme, led by Cornelia Parker's remarkable exhibition, captures the spirit of the Whitworth – a place where marvellous, eclectic artworks connect to people and our place in Manchester."
Find out more about the redeveloped Whitworth at www.manchester.ac.uk/whitworth.
All photography copyright Alan Williams and courtesy of The Whitworth