YORK Art Gallery has been awarded £300,000 towards its £8 million refurbishment project.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has announced the grant from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.

The total raised by the gallery now comes to £7.56 million, including grants of £3.5 million from Arts Council England and a private legacy of £2 million, and funding applications are currently being submitted to raise the remaining shortfall.

The gallery is currently closed for the redevelopment, which will create 60 per cent more exhibition space, including a suite of three galleries on the ground floor to show more ambitious and high profile exhibitions, and the conversion of a roof space into a mezzanine gallery. The gallery is due to reopen in spring 2015.

York’s grant is one of 40 being given to museums across England, together totalling £4.6 million.

Mr Vaizey said such grants would help improve visitor experiences, benefiting local communities and helping to encourage growth, whilst also inspiring audiences with new knowledge.

Janet Barnes, chief executive of York Museums Trust, which runs the gallery, said she was ‘very pleased’ by the £300,000 grant, which was the maximum that could be given to one project.

“This grant means we have nearly raised all the funds to completely transform the interior of the gallery and create one of the best regional galleries in the country,” she said.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said it was pleased to be working with government to fund outstanding projects, adding: “The DCMS/Wolfson Fund is an excellent example of how a funding charity and government department can work productively together."