Arts Council walks out on The Public

The Arts Council has decided to pull its support of controversial West Bromwich arts venue The Public, following a crucial meeting.

The Public
The Public

The absence of a firm opening date for the venue's gallery space, and the considerable increase in annual revenue funding, were central to the Arts Council's decision.

"Although the building is open, the interactive art gallery at the centre of the vision for The Public is not," said chair of Arts Council England Sir Christopher Frayling.

"We have done everything we can but there comes a point when we have to make a difficult judgement. Regretfully, that moment is now."

The Arts Council has, however, agreed to offer Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, which owns and operates the building, a sum of up to £3m to allow it to develop a revised plan for the centre and bring it fully into public use.

"I am delighted the Arts Council has signalled this support and we can look to the future with confidence," said Sandwell's cabinet member for regeneration, councillor Bob Badham.

"We have always committed ourselves to opening the gallery and making it work. We are confident we can do this and that we now have the opportunity to ensure that when it does open, it is a success, accessible and a great art experience."

In the meantime, the venue will continue to operate as normal.

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