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Katie Moody

Writer

The Glasgow landmark could be closing its doors due to budget cuts.

The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) could be set to close its doors, according to Glasgow City Council documents.

Glasgow City Council's budget options paper has included GoMA amongst potential cuts. The document proposes that if the collection could be moved, GoMA may be sold off to contribute towards necessary savings in the region of £50 million.

The documents states: “In relation to GoMA; financially GoMA attracts rates relief of £250,000 annually…If declared surplus this would be lost. Disposal of the building would probably have to be the preferred option.”

It is as yet unclear whether the sale of GoMA will be included in the upcoming budget. A statement from Glasgow City Council, which is run by an SNP- minority administration, claims that “the cross party budget working group asked officers for savings options.”

However, no decisions will be taken until 20 February when various options are due to be presented at a meeting, following which the budget will be decided. 

If the building is sold, the paper proposes that the collection will relocate to Kelvin Hall. The plans could also include rationalising within The Lighthouse, another Glasgow gallery, but if the council cannot find a buyer, it is unlikely the council will go ahead with the proposals.

The proposal has come in the context of a council paper produced last year which calls into question whether the council needs to use as many buildings. Some council officials are considering whether a "museum district" could be created in the west end. It has been argued that having several cultural attractions within a close vicinity could be a major asset and tourist attraction for the city, as such, relocating the collection to Kelvin Hall could play into this.

GoMA, which opened in 1996, is a popular attraction, ranking the 7th most visited in Scotland, ahead of Edinburgh Zoo and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The building which houses GoMA is one of the few surviving 18th century townhouses in Glasgow. Prior to GoMA, it housed the Stirling Library and the Royal Exchange. As with other Glasgow galleries and museums run by the trust Glasgow Life, admission is free. It is also the location of the famous Duke of Wellington statue, famous for having a traffic cone on its head.

As part of Glasgow museum’s collecting approach to address gender inequality, works by Sara Barker, Kate Charlesworth, Michelle Hannah, Sharon Hayes and several others have recently been added to the GoMA collection. Some of these works are currently set to be put on display in exhibitions in the run up to and in the 25th anniversary of GoMA 2021.



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