Posted: Mon 22nd Feb 2016

STORIEL official opening and launch /
This article is old - Published: Monday, Feb 22nd, 2016

On 22 February the STORIEL project was officially launched and opened by Alun Ffred Jones AM along with the project’s funders. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As part of a £2.6 million project funded with £1.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Bishop’s Palace building in Bangor has been transformed to include museums galleries, contemporary art galleries, a shop, cafe and activities room. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The project delivers more than an iconic renovated Building in Bangor; it also offers activities for communities, groups and schools across Gwynedd. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are four main purposes to the project – renovating the Bishop’s Palace Building for public use and contributing towards the regeneration of Bangor city, transforming the interpretation and the physical and digital access to the STORIEL collections, opening doors to Bangor University’s hidden treasures, expanding access and engagement through the development of 5 satellites across Gwynedd which are located in Llanberis, Llanbedrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dolgellau and Tywyn along with a series of community and learning activities with opportunities to volunteer and develop skills. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The re-development of the Gwynedd Museum and Gallery would not have been possible without the support of funders. The project has been supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government, Gwynedd Council, Bangor University, Bangor City Council, The Arts Council of Wales, Ashley Family Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Cadw, The Wolfson Foundation, Welsh Slate and Friends of STORIEL. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration said: “The STORIEL project has been running for nearly 2 years and during that time, it has succeeded in hosting 26 family activities, 30 educational activities, supported over 30 volunteers who have worked over 1,000 hours. With the facility itself opening its doors on 30 January, we have already seen a huge interest from those interested in the arts, heritage and Gwynedd history and we are delighted that over 5,000 visitors have already visited STORIEL since it opened its doors a few weeks ago. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Whilst STORIEL is located in Bangor, the activities the museum and gallery has to offer expand across the county ensuring Gwynedd’s stories and collections reach residents across the area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Establishing 5 satellites across the county ensures a way of supporting the project’s aims as well as creating a Heritage Forum for Gwynedd.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Working in partnership was essential to the success of the project which is led by Gwynedd Council along with Bangor University and the Friends of STORIEL. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Alun Ffred Jones AM, who was Heritage Minister when the proposals were in development and who was key in moving the plans forward said: “This is a very important day for STORIEL and to heritage and arts in Gwynedd. Following years of uncertainty and discussions, it is a privilege to be here to witness the official opening and launch of the project. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“STORIEL hopes to offer a sustainable model to Gwynedd’s Museum and Art Gallery and I wish the scheme a very prosperous and successful future. I would like to congratulate everyone who has been part of the project.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Deputy Minister Ken Skates AM welcomed the opening, saying: “Congratulations to all involved in creating Storiel. This is a brilliant example of what can be achieved through genuine partnership, by joining forces Gwynedd Council and Bangor University have not only given this museum and its wonderful collection a future, but created a hub for a whole Network of Heritage and cultural activities and events in Communities across the Country. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Storiel is also a valued partner in our Pioneer Fusion programme, creating opportunities for young people and their families across Gwynedd to enjoy participating in culture. I wish the team all the very best for the future.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Jerry Hunter on behalf of Bangor University said: “It is fantastic to see the official opening and launch of STORIEL today. The close partnership with Gwynedd Council has ensured that we have safeguarded and developed an accessible and important resource at the centre of Bangor City. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Through this project there is a real chance to open the doors of Bangor University’s hidden collections to Gwynedd residents and beyond, it also means exciting and endless opportunities with regards to promoting the arts and heritage between Pontio and STORIEL in the future.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales explained the importance of the project and why is succeeded in securing grant support: “Gwynedd is an area rich in heritage and culture. Not only the project is ambitious in maintaining collections – it also involves ensuring that the collections are meaningful and accessible for people today. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“With the support of the National Lottery players, the museum has been transformed into a centre that will provide people with opportunities to learn about, enjoy and immerse themselves in their unique heritage.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Frances Llewellyn, on behalf of the Friends of STORIEL welcomed the opening and said: “STORIEL’s official opening is a day of celebration for the Friends following years of campaigning and activities to develop and safeguard Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We welcome the effective partnership working that has existed under the leadership of Gwynedd Council and we are thrilled with the result of all the hard work. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Bishop’s Palace is home to a contemporary and accessible museum and gallery and it has been wonderful to see people flooding through the doors in the last three weeks. I’m sure this will continue because this project has created a fantastic new cultural centre for the whole of Gwynedd. Along with its satellites across the county, everybody can be part of Gwynedd’s Story.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Owain Williams, Relationship Manager, NatWest, which provided a loan for the coffee shop, said: “This is a great cultural resource for the local community and is sure to be a great success. We’d particulalry like to extend our best wishes to Susan, owner of the STORIEL coffee shop. We hope her business is a great success.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

STORIEL opened its doors to the public on 30 January and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11pm to 5pm. Since it first opened its doors, over 5,000 have visited the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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