Residents will have a say in the future of the Bury Art Museum
Residents are being asked to give their views on the future use of the Bury Art Museum as the council looks to find ways to significantly reduce costs.
An assessment of the historic building and service options is underway as part of the council’s plans to cut £29m from its budget.
In a report, discussing its medium-term financial strategy, the council says it could cut the gallery’s budget for the year 2024/2025 by £250,000.
The assessment also includes a suggestion to cut the equivalent of eight full-time staff over the same period.
But the report says the gallery will be included in Bury City Council’s masterplan as a ‘Creatives’ space.
The Moss Street Building includes the Art Gallery Museum and the Sculpture Center.
The Art Gallery was purpose-built to house the Wrigley Collection, donated to the borough in 1897 and opened in 1901.
It has since incorporated many works of contemporary art, and part of the building was recently converted to become a sculpture center to display works in this medium.
However, major repairs are needed, particularly to the roof of the building at a cost of £1million.
A consultation with a conservation architect has begun and a grant application for these repairs is in progress.
Cllr Charlotte Morris, Cabinet Member for Culture and the Economy for the Council, said: ‘The Bury Art Museum, which is at the heart of the city centre’s cultural quarter, is a vital part of our borough’s heritage. and we want to build on the past century of history with a bright future for the building and the collections it houses.
“However, we are facing a harsh financial reality and this year alone we have to cut the council’s budget by £29million.
This is largely due to soaring inflation and fuel bills, as well as growing demand for services for the most vulnerable, but we have already seen a decade of austerity.
“Over the past 12 years the government has cut over £100million from our funding which means we now have to look at every service we provide in order to balance the budget.
“So we’re considering creative uses for the building to understand how we can reduce costs and/or increase revenue, while helping our borough’s creative talent thrive.”
“An options assessment is underway to explore how we could achieve £250,000 in savings and will consider measures such as greater marketing, an extended digital offering, the provision of partnerships and the repurposing of museum space .”
Cllr Morris added: ‘We have launched a public consultation with local residents and businesses as we want to hear their views before setting next year’s budget.
“I urge anyone interested in culture and the arts in Bury to get involved in this consultation – go to www.onecommunitybury.co.uk/bury-art-museum and have your say.”
The gallery is also hosting a day of events for families on Saturday, November 26 to encourage people to get involved in the consultation.