Open Eye Gallery moves closer to Mann Island

Good News (via NWDA)

Open Eye Gallery moves closer to Mann Island

Plans to relocate one of the region’s leading visual arts venues to a new home on the Liverpool waterfront moved a step closer today with a £400K funding award from Northwest Regional Development Agency towards the construction and fit-out of new premises for the Open Eye Gallery at Mann Island. The new Gallery will be a pivotal part of the £135 million mixed–use scheme immediately to the south of the historic Pier Head, developed by Countryside Properties Ltd and Neptune Developments Ltd and designed by architects Broadway Malyan.

The funds, applied for with the support of Liverpool Vision, the economic development company charged with the city’s physical and economic regeneration, follows the award of a  £100K grant from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, North West.

Established in 1977, Open Eye Gallery is the only specialist public photography gallery in the North West of England, and one of only a handful in the UK. Its move to Mann Island is the final piece of the cultural jigsaw on the waterfront, now home to one of the UK’s most impressive concentrations of cultural attractions. The Gallery will be rubbing shoulders with Tate Liverpool, the new Museum of Liverpool, the Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum and the Beatles Story.


The Gallery will be accessed from and located in a spectacular glazed public square at the centre of the Mann Island development. Architects RCKa are designing the new spaces, which will be twice the size of the old premises on Wood Street. The two main gallery spaces will be on the ground floor, with archive space and offices on a mezzanine level above.

Patrick Henry, Open Eye Director, said: “We want to build on our track record as a world-class gallery by re-launching in new premises and significantly raising our game as one of the UK’s leading spaces for photography. Our new galleries will provide more exhibition space, in which we will present cutting-edge work by emerging and established artists. We’ll also be able to present work from our extensive print archive and offer more opportunities for people to get involved and learn about photography.”

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism at NWDA said
: “Following the success of Liverpool Capital of Culture, it is vital that we maintain momentum through continued investment n the city’s creative and cultural offering. The relocation to Mann Island will put the Open Eye in a prime location in the heart of Liverpool’s cultural and tourism offer enabling it to reach a much wider audience.”

Steve Parry, Managing Director of Neptune Developments, commented: “The Mann Island development is a key part of a wider aspiration to animate the waterfront and create a cluster of exciting cultural and tourism attractions. Open Eye Gallery has become established as one of the UK’s most innovative and respected photographic galleries. They will be a hugely important and attractive part of the new waterfront experience.”

As well as the Gallery, visitors to Mann Island will find cafes and restaurants, and opportunities to relax in the sheltered public spaces alongside a section of the new Leeds Liverpool Canal link to the south docks.  The development also features 376 apartments in two blocks clad in black polished granite, and a separate block of 140,000 square feet of high quality commercial office space.

Open Eye Gallery is currently preparing for relocation. Throughout the second half of 2009 it has presented a series four short-term (2-3 week) exhibitions, plus related events. The final exhibition of this series will be The Rolling Exhibition, by Kevin Connolly. The exhibition is part of DaDaFest 09 and runs from 17 November to 5 December 2009.

The new Gallery will be opened in late 2010.