It’s hard to think of St Ives without thinking of the Tate. The town has been synonymous with art and artists for such a long time that the gallery feels as if it has always been there.
The Tate has gone through several improvements over the years to ensure it offers the best possible experience to art lovers. For the next few months the gallery will be shut in order for building work to be carried out on its ‘Phase Two’ project, which is due to open in 2017. So what exactly is being done?
Phase Two at the Tate St Ives
The new development will see work being carried out to the existing gallery buildings as well as on new structures to create a brand new gallery and Learning Centre. The hill behind the original buildings has been excavated and concrete poured to create the foundations for the new gallery.
Unlike the many smaller display spaces in the Tate St Ives, the new gallery will remain a single open space, doubling the display area of the gallery. This will make it easier to display larger works of art, as well as allowing the gallery to expand its range of work to include many more international artists.
The gallery is currently closed until Saturday 21st May 2016 to allow refurbishment of the existing Learning Centre. The Courtyard Room, which houses a lot of the interactive activities, is being completely refurbished, while the café will be expanded to include a new, multi-purpose space.
The history of the Tate St Ives
St Ives has always had a strong connection to the arts. Tate has been linked to the town since 1980, when it took over the management of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. It took just a few years for the organisation to realise St Ives was the perfect place for a gallery. The site of the old gas works was chosen in 1988, building began in 1991, and the Tate St Ives opened its doors in 1993.
St Ives may seem like a small place for such a big gallery, but it quickly proved beyond any doubt that it was the perfect setting. In the first six months 120,000 visitors came to the Tate St Ives – exceeding the target for the entire year by 50,000. Today, the gallery continues to attract around quarter of a million visitors, and the new improvements could bring in many more.
Visiting St Ives? Try the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden
Although the Tate St Ives will be closed for the next few months, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden will remain open and staffed by volunteers. The museum gives you an opportunity to look around the studios of the influential artist, while the gardens are full of her works.
There are still plenty of other reasons to visit St Ives, so why not check out our fantastic holiday accommodation to have a browse and book a stay?