Wolverhampton’s new cafe is set to offer a brighter view of the art gallery

Gallery Director Marguerite Nugent with Deputy Chief Stephen Simkin, Friends Group Chairman Tom Jenkins and Joe Stuart of Croft Building and Conservation Ltd in the new cafe

The gallery’s Glaze cafe in Lichfield Street has opened to coincide with the start of British Art Show 9 – which is expected to draw 50,000 people to the city during the event which runs until April 10.

The new ground floor cafe overlooking the gardens of St Peter’s Church replaces the old one upstairs with Cannock-based firm Croft Building and Conservation Ltd carrying out the work.

The £1.5million phase two work was funded by grants from Arts Council England and existing equity funding from Wolverhampton Council.

The first phase of gallery improvements included the transformation of the Sensing Sculpture room on the first floor into an exhibition space that enabled the gallery to host larger traveling exhibitions such as the Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year of natural history.

The new café, decorated with pieces from the gallery’s Pop Art collection, offers an extensive drinks menu, including eight types of tea, and a varied menu including all-day breakfast, soups, sandwiches, samosas, jacket potatoes and a full Kid’s Menu meal.

Councilor Stephen Simkins, Deputy Leader of Wolverhampton Council and Cabinet Member for the City’s Economy, was present at the launch and said the new cafe was part of the council’s work to transform the city into a visitor economy.

He said: “This new cafe is a big part of our town’s plans and we want more people to come and see things like British Art Show 9 which will attract around 50,000 visitors and is good for the economy.

“It’s nice for me to see the final product here because it used to be very dark and dark and now even in the darkest and cruelest winter we’ve had in years it’s still filled with light natural and lends itself well to the artists.

“We have made a point of making it inclusive and it can attract more people because it is on the ground floor and has a price list that is also inclusive, so more people can come and enjoy exhibited art.

The new cafe is also part of a council effort to make the city’s galleries more accessible, with venues such as the Bilston, Wednesdayfield, Penn and Tettenhall libraries being part of redevelopment plans.

Tom Jenkins, chairman of Wolverhampton’s Friends of Arts and Museums, said his first reaction on seeing the new cafe was amazement.

He said: “I just thought ‘wow’ when I first saw this and I think this art gallery is one of the biggest in the country so that’s going to be a real bonus.

“This means we now have the opportunity to expand our regular morning coffees to more people, giving members a welcome opportunity to socialize and enjoy exhibits and presentations.

“The new facilities will also encourage more people to come and spend time in our fantastic downtown art gallery.”

The art gallery’s arts and culture manager, Marguerite Nugent, said she was equally delighted with the new café and spoke about the transformation of the hall from what was previously a darker showroom .

She said: “I’ve worked here for over 25 years now and this space was one of our gallery spaces so all the windows were boarded up and had artwork in it so it wasn’t open to the public. light outside.

“That means we can showcase our collection as well, because when we looked at the design and inspiration of the café, we started looking at our Pop Art collection and put several on the walls here.

“I think it will not only benefit the gallery but the whole town because it is a real quality restaurant and it is a little different place to go with a more varied menu than just a panini and a Cup of coffee.”

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