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Aberdeen Art Gallery has moved closer to gaining £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its redevelopment initiative “Inspiring Art and Music”.

The gallery project has been awarded a First-round pass for funding of £10m from the HLF. The means the venture meets the HLF’s criteria for funding and that HLF believes it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.

The redevelopment aims to transform Aberdeen Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall into a world-class cultural centre, celebrating art and music in the north-east, and providing a focal point for the creative industries and Aberdeen‘s Cultural Quarter.

The HLF’s support includes development funding of £126,200 to help Aberdeen City Council progress its plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The project will restore and modernise the buildings, celebrate and bring to life Aberdeen Art Gallery’s internationally significant permanent collections, expand the temporary displays and special exhibition galleries, enhance the visitor experience and allow the gallery to reach out to new audiences.

The project will also seek to bring a renewed understanding of the third building within the complex – the War Memorial – which offers a treasured place for contemplation and reflection and continues to be the focus of the annual civic Act of Remembrance.

The total cost of the investment required is £30m over the next four financial years.

The level and extent of the council’s financial commitment to the overall programme includes a sum of £10m to be set aside from the non-housing capital programme [NHCP] for the financial period 2013-17.

It is also anticipated that the Council will raise £10m through other grant funding as well as corporate, philanthropic and personal support. This would be combined with a high-profile fundraising campaign led by Valerie Watts, the local authority’s chief executive.

An additional sum of £3m has been set aside from the Council’s non-housing capital programme in 2013/14 for an enabling project to create a Museums Collections Centre.

This centre, which will be open to visitors, will create a single site for all the Museums and Galleries collections and hold the Art Gallery collections during the building phase.

The Art Gallery redevelopment is expected to begin in the first half of 2015 once the Museums Collections Centre has been completed with the Art Gallery due to reopen in 2017.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk

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