A donation of more than £250,000 has been made to help transform Aberdeen’s art gallery, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The Marguerite McBey Trust has gifted £253,675 to a fundraising drive for the landmark building’s redevelopment.
It brings the total cash given by the public for the project to £3,266,663 towards a targeted £10 million.
Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said “We are grateful to the Margeurite McBey Trust for this generous donation.
“As leader of the council I am proud this administration has pushed ahead with the £30m refurbishment of the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Cowdray Hall and Remembrance Hall.
“I am sure it will prove to be a wonderful asset for the city and will be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
“This redevelopment forms an integral part of our city centre regeneration plans which will enhance our cultural offering and ensure Aberdeen can compete with cities around the world.”
The £30m renovation, which council chiefs claimed will make the attraction among the “best regional galleries in the world”, has been funded by £10m from the authority and £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Works include the creation of 21 gallery spaces instead of the existing 11, as well as a community gallery in a new wing at the rear of the building.
Cllr Marie Boulton, who sits on the trust’s board, said: “Moving on to the next chapter it’s important that McBey has a part in it.
“The trust recognises the art gallery is one of the brilliant cultural offerings in Aberdeen.
“The board sees the value of what Aberdeen City Council has put in – time and money – for this project and they want to play their part.”
American painter Marguerite McBey was a major benefactress of Aberdeen Art Gallery.
She was married to James McBey, from Foveran, who was a self-taught printmaker, draftsman and painter with an international reputation.
A room will be dedicated to his work in the revamped gallery.
The trust aims to promote and support the arts by the protection, conservation and development of the fine art collection at the gallery.
Opposition leader Cllr Stephen Flynn said: “Any donation, particularly of this size, has to be welcomed but ultimately it’s the public purse that’s on the line.
“We’re still the best part of £7m shy at this stage.
“If anyone could make a similar donation like this I would urge them to come forward.”
The A-listed building is scheduled to reopen this winter. It was opened in 1885, partly funded through public donations.