Wolverhampton Art Gallery reopens for first time since lockdown
People are being encouraged to visit a newly reopened Black Country art gallery to improve their wellbeing.
Ruth Stanway, of Wolverhampton Art Gallery, said looking at art can boost mood and moral given the tough times people have faced with coronavirus.
The Lichfield Street premises reopened for the first time on Saturday since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Asked for her thoughts on reopening, Ms Stanway, commercial operations manager, said: "We are dead excited to reopen, it is a step towards normality."
The gallery has been open virtually amid the pandemic.
Galleries were one of the last places allowed to reopen by the Government since lockdown began on March 23.
The city's art gallery has reopened with a brand new exhibition called Here To Stay, which contains 23 portraits of black NHS workers. All of the staff are based in the Black Country and Birmingham.
The exhibition was put together by documentary photographer Inès Elsa Dalal who says she is "compelled to confront anti-Blackness in Britain".
It was initially planned to reopen earlier this year but the Covid-19 outbreak affected this.
Ms Stanway says the exhibition is timely given the Black Lives Matter Movement and the new found appreciation of NHS workers amid the pandemic.
Other artwork at the gallery includes centuries old ones like three portraits painted by Wolverhampton artist Edward Bird [1772 - 1819]. His paintings, dated 1795, is called 'Tea-totalism, temperance and intemperance' and explores attitudes towards drinking.
The gallery has reopened with a number of safety measures in place including one-way systems and hand sanitizer stations. Headphones and chairs have been removed from interactive exhibitions.
Ms Stanway added: "I think people express themselves through art. In times of trouble it is needed more than ever.
"People need art for their essential wellbeing."
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