THE Arts Council has confirmed it is giving a £3.5 million lottery grant towards a massive revamp of York Art Gallery.

The gallery is due to close on December 31 for an £8 million re-development, which will include a stunning new gallery in a ‘secret’ room in the original Victorian roofspace. The whole gallery is set to reopen at Easter 2015.

A spokesman said today that a grant of £150,000 from the Foyle Foundation, £100,000 from Sir Siegmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement and a further £40,000 from Shepherd Group over four years had also been pledged in the last few weeks.

“This is on top of £10,000 from Shepherd Group granted towards the gallery’s development last year,” he said.

As reported previously, the gallery has also received a £2 million private legacy.

The spokesman said the total funds raised now stood at £7 million, with York Museums Trust, which runs the gallery, working to secure the rest of the funding from various funding bodies and organisations.

Trust chief executive Janet Barnes said she was delighted by the confirmation of the National Lottery grant, and it was ‘fantastic’ that the Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, Shepherd Group and The Foyle Foundation had also shown faith in the plans by pledging further funds.

“Without such funding, the development would not have been possible on the scale we believe is necessary to transform the gallery into one of the best in the country.”

Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director of the Arts Council in Yorkshire, said: “York attracts cultural tourists from across the UK and the rest of the globe.

“This £3.5 million lottery investment in York Art Gallery will enrich York’s offer and create a fantastic contemporary visual arts space for the people of Yorkshire and visitors from further afield, hosting ambitious contemporary exhibition programmes as well as the new Centre for British Studio Ceramics.

“This project will help audiences and artists enjoy great contemporary art in a visitor-friendly, upgraded historic building in the heart of the city. I can’t wait to come and see it for myself.”

Patrick Shepherd, Deputy Chairman, Shepherd Group, said it was delighted to support the imaginative scheme.

“The Trust has already done much, on tight budgets, to provide a more attractive and accessible cultural offering to York’s residents and visitors alike. York Art Gallery is already one of the best in the region and will be a real showpiece after completion of this ingenious extension and revitalisation of the gallery space.”