Artistic Legacy Set to Thrive in the Heart of Cheltenham

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In the first partnership of its kind, last night (Monday 16 July) the University of Gloucestershire and the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum (CAGM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create a new venue for the Summerfield Gallery in the heart of the town.

Following discussion held between Dr Ben Calvert, Faculty Dean (Media, Arts and Technology) at the University and Jane Lillystone, Museum and Arts Manager, the proposals will see the CAGM host and co-curate three touring shows a year in the new gallery.

The new Summerfield Gallery will be launched at the Clarence Street venue following the Building for a New Future redevelopment scheme, with the Art Gallery and Museum expected to re-open from Summer 2013.

Under the terms of the agreement with Cheltenham Borough Council, which owns the Art Gallery and Museum, students will enjoy new opportunities to exhibit their work and gain valuable experience. Touring exhibitions previously hosted at the University’s Pittville Studios will now take place in the Summerfield Gallery at the CAGM, beginning with the Open West exhibition in 2013.

The University received a generous grant of £60,000 from the Summerfield Trust for the refurbishment of its Gallery space at Pittville in 2006. When the School of Art and Design relocated from Pittville it was agreed to transfer this funding into the Art Gallery and Museum project. In partnership with the CAGM and Summerfield Trust, this will allow the University to continue to run high profile exhibitions and events that bring the best of Art and Design to Cheltenham. It will also allow for student engagement with the Gallery to expose them to high quality work, to archives and to opportunities to develop their skills.

Dr Ben Calvert, Faculty Dean (Media, Arts and Technology), said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the University and our students for many years to come. We will be able to host and curate three exhibitions a year at the site and potential to use the space for performance. Staff and students will have access to the AG&M archives for research and we will be working with the CAGM to provide placements for Art and Design students. We are looking forward to our future collaboration.”

Jane Lillystone added: “We are looking forward to working with University staff and students when he new galleries open next year, and the first will be the Open West competition. We see this as a continuation of a strong working relationship which we have enjoyed with the University for a number of years.”

Edward Gillespie, Chairman of the Summerfield Charitable Trust said: “The Summerfield Trustees are delighted to have been instrumental in pulling together two of Cheltenham’s most influential arts organisations to benefit students, residents and visitors in this wonderful new venue.”
To find out more and to see a virtual walk through, please visit

Photo caption from left to right: 

MoU signing with Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum: Grahame Lewis, Executive Director, Cheltenham Borough Council and Stephen Marston, Vice- Chancellor, University of Gloucestershire.

The Summerfield Charitable Trust

The Summerfield Charitable Trust was established by Ronald Summerfield, a Cheltenham antique dealer, shortly before his death in 1989. In 2007 the trust distributed £397,128 to a wide range of good causes in Gloucestershire.
The University’s Fine Art students have had the opportunity to receive the Summerfield Rome Bursary since 1989. It enables them to spend a period of four to six weeks living and working at the British School in Rome and they then donate one piece of work to the Summerfield Charitable Trust.

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

The Art Gallery & Museum will be re-opening mid 2013. During our closure period we are still operating – from the Outer Space – our education loans service, teaching sessions and family events / workshops, as well as continuing our off-site touring programme, Off the wall, on the move. You can find more details of these services and events in this leaflet and by going online to
The redevelopment is supported, with thanks, by the following key partners: Cheltenham Borough Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Summerfield Trust, The Monument Trust, The Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston, Wolfson Foundation, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum Development Trust, and the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

The exciting and ambitious plans for the new development will provide additional galleries, new open access stores/study facilities and dedicated spaces for lifelong learning, education, outreach services and arts development programmes. Cheltenham Tourist Information Centre will be re-located into the new building, enabling the council to make significant cost savings. There will be a new larger ground floor café and shop, and an expanded events and performance space.
The scheme provides a more prominent entrance to the Art Gallery & Museum and creates a new footpath to Cheltenham’s oldest building, medieval St. Mary’s Church, from Clarence Street to Chester Walk.
It is hoped that the new building will be open mid 2013. For regular updates on the redevelopment work and to find out more about the continuing off-site programme of events, visit or call 01242 237431.

Source: University of Gloucestershire

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