(Title Image: Guggenheim Museum)
The Motion (Final/Amended Version)
- Notes the publication of the feasibility studies on a ‘National Contemporary Art Gallery Wales Feasibility Study’ (pdf) and ‘A Sport Museum for Wales Feasibility Study’ (pdf).
- Welcomes the analysis and recommendations in both reports, together with the opportunities and challenges they present but also recognised that further work is required before decisions are taken.
- Welcomes the recommendation that a National Football Museum should be established in Wrexham.
- Welcomes the recommendation that the National Contemporary Art Gallery should be housed in a permanent headquarters.
“A nation awash with history and culture”
Culture Minister, Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Ind, Dwyfor Meirionnydd) said Wales was awash with history and culture. From the outset, he said while the sports museum study was undertaken with all sports history in mind, football has been the central part.
He stressed the importance of partnership in developing both proposals, but for the modern art gallery, the first step would be to generate interest, then ensure that current exhibitions are available across Wales and only then will a permanent headquarters be taken forward.
The Shadow Culture Minister, David Melding AM (Con, South Wales Central), said there was a lot of common ground on this and, when it came to the modern art gallery in particular, it had to make a statement.
“I think we do need to see something new, visible, and world-leading. If we don’t start off with that ambition, I’m not quite sure that we’re going to get where we want to be. The report, in fairness, does use these terms, and we certainly want a dispersed, federal-type model as part of the strategy, but I think that prestigious building is something that we do need to consider and really bring some focus onto that.”
Shadow Culture Minister, David Melding AM
He accepted it was a challenging area “with many risks” – particularly in terms of finance and historic delivery – though he supported the development of a major national museum in north Wales.
Llyr Gruffydd AM (Plaid, North Wales) said the reports were a vindication of Plaid Cymru’s policy of establishing a National Football Museum in Wrexham – where the FAW was founded.
“It’s still home to the oldest existing international stadium in the world, as well as the third-oldest football club in the world. It’s where, of course, the founding fathers of the FAW met many, many years ago. But also, not only history but future football as well, because the FAW, of course, have invested in that future with a national football development centre being located at Colliers Park in Wrexham.”
– Llyr Gruffydd AM
He supported a football museum being part of the National Museum Wales umbrella, instead of a “glorified local museum”, as well as a wider sports heritage strategy.
Mick Antoniw AM (Lab, Pontypridd) pointed to a dearth of arts provision in the south Wales Valleys despite available buildings, while Adam Price AM (Plaid, Carms. E. &. Dinefwr) spoke up in favour of locating the modern art gallery in Port Talbot:
“….it is a great opportunity to do something exciting that could have regenerative potential. I think, yes, Port Talbot would be a fascinating place: the mountains behind us meeting the sea; yes, Wales’s industrial heritage there; and, of course, as we know, Port Talbot at night, in some ways, is a work of art? And what would be better, and crystalising our culture in the fullest sense, than building our national gallery of contemporary arts centre there?”
– Adam Price AM
Caroline Jones AM (Ind, South Wales West) thought it might give the impression of misplaced priorities in a time of austerity, despite her personal support for both proposals. There has to be a new model of delivery and raising funds.