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Grundy Art Gallery

Explore the art world right here in Blackpool and enjoy the Autumn exhibitions at Grundy Art Gallery. Indoor and outdoor exhibits, free entry

Autumn at Grundy Art Gallery

The Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool shows a year round programme of contemporary and visual art exhibitions and events. Including solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities.

Autumn 2021 at Grundy Art Gallery

Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery celebrates being 110 years young with the launch of new Autumn 2021 programme

The programme includes:

  • a new light art installation by the internationally renowned artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman for the exterior of Grundy’s building;
  • a major new international exhibition from Hayward Gallery Touring;
  • a foyer display that looks back at Grundy’s 110 year history;
  • and a new project for Grundy’s forecourt to coincide with Black History Month.

Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Aspiration and Community Assets said: “110 years after it opened its doors, Grundy continues to demonstrate its commitment to the people of Blackpool. From high profile international artists, to our local creative young people, the Grundy’s autumn programme will showcase the best of what Blackpool has to offer, as well as bringing to the town high quality exhibitions to share with the people of Blackpool and beyond.”


NOT WITHOUT MY GHOSTS: The Artist as Medium

15 October – 11 December in Grundy Art Gallery ground floor gallery spaces

Grundy Art Gallery and Hayward Gallery Touring presents Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist As Medium, a major exhibition of 30+ international artists from 19th century to the present day. These works are variously inspired by mediumship and its deep cultural history. Featuring works inspired by spirit experiences during séances and trances, to practices of automatism, surrealist experiments, and communications with higher powers and other realities. Not Without My Ghosts addresses 200 years of medium art by exploring how artists have been inspired or directly influenced by forces beyond those accepted by the modern world. 

The exhibition takes as its starting point the visionary work of William Blake and the largely forgotten Victorian spirit artists Georgiana Houghton and Barbara Honywood. Their work, based on experiences and communication with the world of the spirits, was strikingly at odds with prevailing traditions of artistic expression. The exhibition moves through the 20th Century where work by artists Austin Osman Spare, Ithell Colquhoun and Cameron draws on techniques of automatism combined with an interest in ritualised forms of occultism. 

Concluding with works from artists such as Emma Talbot, Suzanne Treister, Lea Porsager and Louise Despont. Not Without My Ghosts demonstrates how contemporary artists are using the power of the unseen and the ghostly to explore the radical ambiguities of the world around them. 

The exhibition opened at Drawing Room, London in Autumn 2020, where the focus was on drawing and its potential to reveal what lies beyond the confines of the visible. The exhibition expanded to include painting, film and installation. The exhibition tours to Blackpool, Swansea and Sheffield – all of which have a connection to the rich legacy of Spiritualism. The strength of the spiritualist church in Lancashire and the seaside clairvoyance of Blackpool;  the renowned political activist and Spiritualist Winifred Coombe Tennant, one of the most significant early patrons and official buyer for the collection of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea; and finally the legacy of the Victorian art critic and social reformer John Ruskin in Sheffield. 

Participating artists are: Noviadi Angkasapura; William Blake; Cameron; Ann Churchill; Ithell Colquhoun; Louise Despont; Casimiro Domingo; Emma Talbot; Madame Fondrillon; Chiara Fumai; Vidya Gastaldon; Madge Gill, Susan Hiller; Barbara Honywood; Georgiana Houghton; Augustin Lesage; Pia Lindman; Ann Lislegaard; Grace Pailthorpe; František Jaroslav Pecka; Olivia Plender; Sigmar Polke; Lea Porsager; Austin Osman Spare; and Suzanne Treister with The Museum of Blackhole Spacetime Collective.  

BLACKPOOL LIGHT OF MY LIFE: Chila Kumari Singh Burman

From 19 Octoberexterior of Grundy Art Gallery building

Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool Illuminations and Lightpool Festival are excited to announce details of a new light art installation by the internationally recognised artist, Chila Kumari Singh Burman. After high profile projects for Tate Britain and Covent Garden in London, the artist has turned her sights to Blackpool and the town’s Grade II listed Grundy Art Gallery.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, mermaid, design stage images © the artist, courtesy Blackpool Illuminations.
Chila Kumari Singh Burman, mermaid, design stage images © the artist, courtesy Blackpool Illuminations.

As part of this year’s Lightpool Festival, visitors can delight in a riotous display of multi-coloured new light works; specially commissioned for the exterior of the building.

Brought together under the title, “Blackpool Light of My Life”, the exhibition is the artist’s love letter to the town; which she hopes will help people to feel joy at a time when such emotions may be hard to find.

Bright pink flamingos stand strong; their beaks touching to form a heart; a pair of glowing lips encourage us to pass on a smile; a dazzling toy windmill signifies the winds of change and a multi-coloured tree of life reminds us of our connectedness to the here and now, and to one another. In addition, and as a centrepiece to the display, the artist has provided Blackpool with a powerful symbol of renewal in the form of a mermaid. To complete the display, the artist has wrapped the four stone columns, which sit either side of Grundy’s entrance, in brightly coloured, densely collaged prints topped off with ropes of light.

Born in Bootle, to Punjabi-Hindu parents, Chila Kumari Singh Burman is celebrated for her radical feminist practice which examines representation, gender and cultural identity. She works across a wide range of mediums including printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, lips, design stage images © the artist, courtesy Blackpool Illuminations.
Chila Kumari Singh Burman, lips, design stage images © the artist, courtesy Blackpool Illuminations.

Blackpool Light of My Life is co-commissioned by Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool Illuminations and Lightpool Festival and has been made possible with funding from an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant. The appearance of the White Tiger Car in Blackpool is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and utilises an award from the main Welcome Back Fund.


26 October – 11 December in the Grundy Art Gallery Foyer

26 October 2021 marks 110 years of Grundy Art Gallery opening its doors to the people of Blackpool and beyond.

To celebrate this event, the foyer at Grundy Art Gallery provides the setting for a display of archival materials, looking back into the history of the gallery. Looking forward, the display will also highlight some of the exciting future activity that is planned.

Ann Churchill, Blue Oval Drawing, 1975, Courtesy the artist. Image credit: David Bebber
Ann Churchill, Blue Oval Drawing, 1975, Courtesy the artist. Image credit: David Bebber

In addition to this, Grundy’s 110 anniversary is being marked in a number of different ways including; newly designed shop products and the unveiling of a Blue Plaque. Establishing a Grundy Art Gallery Anniversary Collection will see the acquisition of new works into Grundy’s permanent collection. Made throughout the year, these new works are being selected to provide future audiences with a record of the extraordinary times that we are living through and for the fact that they each speak very clearly of the time in which they have been made.


Brendan Bunting: BLACKpool

From 19 October – 11 December

The Grundy Art Gallery Forecourt Commission is an ongoing programme of new works that are commissioned specifically for presentation on the exterior glass panels of Grundy’s forecourt. This high profile, highly visible programme is part of Grundy’s ambition to extend its activity outside of the four walls of the gallery.

The next Grundy Art Gallery Forecourt Commission will present the work of Blackpool based artist, and Youth Worker Brendan Bunting. Exploring identity, community and history, this new work captures what life was like growing up, mixed raced in Blackpool. Created for Black History Month, this work will be the starting point for a series of workshops with young people in the town that will explore race and identity. The workshops will be delivered through a partnership between Grundy Art Gallery, the Resilience Revolution and Brendan Bunting.


The autumn programme is supported by a range of activities and events that will provide opportunities to find out more about the art and artists on display, as well as exploring and developing the participants’ own creativity.

Sign up to the Grundy newsletter via the Grundy website Keep an eye on the website and watch out for posts via Grundy’s social media channels to find out more.

Opening Times

  • Open Tues to Saturday – 11am to 4pm. Last admission is 3.40pm.
  • Grundy does not have a publicly accessible toilet or baby changing facilities on site. But you can access them in Central Library, located directly next door to the gallery. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • Find Grundy Art Gallery at Queen Street, Blackpool, FY1 1PU – adjoining Blackpool Central Library.

Grundy Art Gallery unveils an exciting calendar of events to commemorate its 110th anniversary in 2021. 

The gallery and its collection established in 1911. It came via a financial gift and donation of over 30 paintings by local brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy. 2021 therefore marks the 110th Anniversary of the gallery opening its doors to the people of Blackpool and beyond. To celebrate this milestone, a number of special exhibitions and events are in store.  

The Blackpool coat of arms – emblazoned with ‘Progress’ – is embedded in brickwork above the front door. Guided by this motto, the gallery continues to honour its founding ethos. It shows a year-round programme of high quality contemporary art exhibitions and events. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, 2021 will be no exception.  

Grundy Art Gallery’s 110th anniversary activity looks back into the past and forward into the future. It will chart the important role that the gallery has played historically. While also demonstrating its commitment to remaining at the heart of Blackpool’s artistic life, for many years to come.  

110th Anniversary Logo 

Grundy Art Gallery’s 110th anniversary logo is inspired by an ink stamp, historically used to identify items brought into Grundy’s permanent collection. It also echoes the design of Blackpool’s world famous sticks of rock. The logo will take on different colour schemes throughout the year to mark calendar dates of celebration and commemoration, such as LGBT+ History Month and the International Day of People with Disabilities. 

Grundy Art Gallery 110th anniversary logo
Grundy Art Gallery 110th anniversary logo

Good to Go

The Grundy Art Gallery has obtained the new VisitEngland ’We’re Good To Go’ Covid safe industry standard. It means that:

  • they’ve carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment
  • are adhering to all of the latest government guidelines
  • and making changes around social distancing, staff training and health and safety.
New opening measures at Grundy Art Gallery
New opening measures at Grundy Art Gallery


Open is the Grundy’s annual, unselected exhibition which throws a spotlight on creative talent across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.

It’s usually held early in the year and participation is open to all residents aged 18 years and over from eligible postcodes. More than 100 works are on display from a wide range of media and techniques.

Open 2019 at Grundy Art Gallery
Open 2019 at Grundy Art Gallery

fig-futures, a collecting scheme supported by Arts Council England, Art Fund, and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, has acquired 26 new art works for collections across the UK.  Pictured below: Rebecca Birch, The Yellowing Part 1, 2018, Photograph by Jonathan Lynch, Grundy Art Gallery.

Rebecca Birch, The Yellowing Part 1, 2018, Photograph by Jonathan Lynch, Grundy Art Gallery
Rebecca Birch, The Yellowing Part 1, 2018, Photograph by Jonathan Lynch, Grundy Art Gallery

fig-futures has spent a year touring the UK, done 16 week long shows, in four galleries, and several community spaces with 18 artists. The major set of acquisitions will benefit several areas across the UK, from Blackpool to Cornwall, via East Anglia and the Midlands.

Artworks acquired range from performance works to films, large scale sculptures to photography. Plus paintings to durational dance pieces, diversifying the collections the artworks will go to. The total sum of the acquisitions is in the region of £80,000.00.

Recipients and collection highlights include:

  • Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, gains artworks that include two prints and a ceramic work by Allison Katz and an interactive library installation by Ruth Beale
  • Norwich Castle Museum acquires its first sound and performance art works: Passing through Metal (2018) by Oreet Ashery (created with a heavy metal band and knitters) and Singular (2011) a durational dance work by Joe Moran, respectively. They also acquire a new site-specific artwork by Broomberg and Chanarin and work by artist Eva Rothschild, who represents Ireland at the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice this year
  • The Gallery at De Montfort University, Leicester, acquires a performance artwork by Swedish artist Annika Strom and a second by British artist Ben Judd
  • The Box, Plymouth, sees a painting by Eva Grubinger and by Suzanne Treister join their collection and a slide projector installation by Charlotte Moth about post-war Plymouth

Contemporary artworks into public collections

fig-futures was initiated by Art Fund and Outset Contemporary Art Fund to develop a new collecting scheme for the acquisition of contemporary artworks into public collections. Plus providing artist and curatorial development opportunities for galleries and practitioners outside the capital. It saw sixteen, week-long exhibitions across four venues who, in turn, acquired works by the artists included in their respective shows.

20,000 people have visited or engaged with the shows in the four locations. Institutions have also programmed talks and events to coincide with exhibitions to help audiences engage even further.

Reflecting Blackpool as a place

“The works being collected variously address Blackpool as place. They speak to our policy of collecting high quality contemporary art. These acquisitions provide an important legacy of our fig-futures partnership, but more importantly provide an exciting and relevant curatorial resource for our future exhibition and event programming.

“We want to thank all the fig-futures partners for making these acquisitions possible, but especially the artists for their insightful and engaging contributions.”

Artist Ruth Beale, said: “I’m really pleased that Grundy has chosen to acquire Library of Future Societies (Blackpool). It’s a living, changing work. Made for, and by, Blackpool.

“Each time it’s displayed, it will be remade with books held in Blackpool Libraries. I think that libraries – and galleries – can be litmus papers to what is valued in society. It’s a reflection of the library service, the readers, and the books that are in circulation.”

Paulette Terry Brien became the gallery’s curator in November 2017.

Paulette Terry Brien, Grundy Art Gallery Curator

Paulette has more than 25 years of experience working within contemporary visual art. She’s well known for raising the profile of the North West region, on a national and international level.

Paulette is co-founder and co-director of The International 3, a contemporary art gallery based in Salford. There, she’s delivered a year round programme of exhibitions and events. Plus being instrumental in developing projects such as Manchester’s annual contemporary art fair, The Manchester Contemporary.

Paulette comes to the Grundy with a strong track record of identifying and nurturing emerging talent, commissioning and curating high quality contemporary art exhibitions for both gallery and non-gallery settings. Over the years, her wealth of experience has supported hundreds of emerging artists. Many of whom have gone on to achieve regional, national and international recognition.

As well as providing peer support, Paulette has also been successful on many occasions in brokering the acquisition of work by regional artists into major public and private collections, such as the Arts Council Collection and Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection.

Paulette is thrilled to have been selected as the new curator of the Grundy. She’s keen to continue to champion regional artists from the North West.

Prestigious Award for Light Programme at the Grundy

In 2016, Grundy Art Gallery secured £80,000 from the Art Fund, to buy new artworks around the theme of light.

Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

The Award is part of the Art Fund’s £400,000 ‘New Collecting Awards’ programme. Six awards were made in 2016 to museums around the British Isles.

The £80,000 award to then Grundy Curator Richard Parry was the joint highest sum. The same amount went to curators at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and the National Galleries of Scotland.

The award invests in the development of promising curators at early points in their careers. Museum professionals are each given a budget to pursue a completely new avenue of collecting in their institutions.

Exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

Five out of six of the awards were presented to support contemporary art collecting. The scheme benefits the museums’ collections. It also helps the curators to learn at first-hand about the process of making great acquisitions.

Significant boost

The award is a significant boost for the gallery. It follows a further award from the John Ellerman Foundation, supporting new work with the collection. That enabled important behind-the-scenes improvements, including the employment of a new Collections Manager.

Then curator Richard Parry said: “This award couldn’t come at a better time. For the first time since before the War the gallery has a substantial amount to buy new artworks. It allows us to develop our new strand of work around light.”

“Blackpool is in many ways the ‘home’ of light in the UK because of the Illuminations. This is a huge endorsement of the cultural significance of light in the town. Nowhere in the country currently focuses on light in this way. We’ve seen a fantastic response to the exhibition Sensory Systems. It shows there’s an appetite for international artwork of this kind here.

“Although light is only one part of the gallery’s work, there’s an ambition to make the Grundy nationally recognised for it. That’s starting to happen already through this award.”

Key Emin artwork joins Grundy’s permanent collection

Grundy Art Gallery acquired a key exhibit from one of the most successful art exhibitions to join the permanent collection. ‘I Know I Know I Know’ by Tracey Emin was first displayed as part of NEON: The Charged Line exhibition in 2002.

I Know I Know by Tracey Emin

The acquisition is the first made by the gallery using funding from the Art Fund’s New Collecting Award. The scheme enables curators to pursue new avenues of collecting for their museums. 

The work displayed at the gallery in NEON: The Charged Line traced how artists have worked with neon since the 1960s. The exhibition saw Emin alongside other stars including Joseph Kosuth, Fiona Banner, François Morellet and Keith Sonnier. It also coincided with Blackpool’s famous Illuminations LightPool project.

Emin is well known for her work with fabric, embroidery and installations – including ‘My Bed’ – part of the Turner Prize in 1999. She also has a reputation for her evocative and emotionally charged work in neon. ‘I Know I Know I Know’, is one of the earliest works in neon from the so-called “young British artist” generation.

Centre for contemporary visual art

The acquisition marks the first purchase made possible through a New Collecting Award from Art Fund. Additional support came from the John Ellerman Foundation.

Over the past decade the Grundy has established a reputation as one of the North’s leading centres for contemporary visual art. Various ambitious exhibitions explore the relationship between art and popular culture.

The light programme and collection will help the Grundy become a national centre for artists working in the medium.

Grundy Art Gallery is Blackpool’s art gallery. It offers a year round programme of contemporary and visual art exhibitions and events. There are solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities.

Brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy founded The Grundy Art Gallery in 1908. Now displayed in a Grade II listed Carnegie building. It’s been at the centre of cultural and artistic life in the town for over 100 years. It began with the ambition to show the best art of the day to the people of Blackpool. This sentiment remains at the heart of today, as a leading contemporary art gallery in the North West.

Today it includes works by established artists such as Martin Creed, Tracey Emin and Laura Ford. Gilbert and George, Brian Griffiths, Augustus John, Haroon Mirza and Eric Ravilious. It also has works by regionally based emerging talent such as Joe Fletcher Orr and Louise Giovanelli.

The Grundy aims to inspire audiences through an ambitious and varied year-round exhibitions programme. It draws on the unique and invigorating context and heritage of Blackpool. For instance exploring the space between contemporary art, entertainment and popular culture.

The Grundy Collection

Exhibitions and displays frequently incorporate pieces from our collection. It began with a bequest by the founding brothers and contains an eclectic range of art and other items. From furniture to ceramics, to netsuke ornaments to Victorian oil paintings. Artists include Craigie Aitchison, Ruth Claxton and Martin Creed. Laura Ford, Augustus John, Eric Ravilious and Gilbert and George amongst others.

Grundy is part of Blackpool Council’s Arts Service. It develops and delivers arts projects which engage Blackpool’s residents, communities and visitors in the arts. The service supports the town’s arts community, placing the arts the core of Blackpool’s unique and important cultural environment.

The gallery is an Accredited Museum. It also receives funding from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and from the John Ellerman Foundation.

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1 thought on “Autumn at Grundy Art Gallery”

  1. I’ve been and think the Grayson Perry exhibition is wonderful. I bang on about it in my radio show The Music Box on every week. I’d recommend anyone with the slightest interest in art or tapestries to go along and see it. It’s bang up to date but timeless. Hogarth would surely have admired it. Go. Go. Go. Let’s get more exhibitions like this in Blackpool. I am in no way connected with the Grundy Art Gallery.

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