The Lightbox wins Art Fund Prize

by Luke Tuchscherer | 03 Jun 2008

The Lightbox art gallery and museum in Woking has won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize.

The Lightbox – the end result of a 15-year campaign by a group of locals to obtain a galley for the Surrey town – was designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who designed the London Eye.

Chair of the judges, Sue MacGregor, said: “It was a difficult final choice for the judges, but in the end we went for something novel, brave and full of delights. Woking in Surrey may sound a slightly unlikely place for a brand new museum, but we were instantly impressed by the Lightbox: by the fine design of the building itself, by its international and local collections, and by the general air of enthusiasm and professional attention to detail shown by the staff and its many volunteers. The combination in the end was truly irresistible.”

Marylin Scott, director of the Lightbox, added: “Winning is beyond our wildest dreams – we are such a new gallery and museum. But it is incredible how much of an impact the Lightbox has had on the local community and the wider south east in such a short time. We are so grateful to all our funders, supporters and volunteers for helping us win the prize and grateful to The Art Fund for all their fantastic support.”

Among the options the Lightbox team are considering spending their prize money on are an art commission and a semi-permanent structure for their canal-side courtyard, extending their exhibition and event space and further developing the visitor accessibility of their venue.

There were four museums shortlisted for the award – formerly known as the Gulbenkian Prize – and the other entrants were The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol, the Shetland Museum and Archives in Shetland and the Wellcome Collection in London.

The Lightbox art gallery and museum in Woking has won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize. The Lightbox – the end result of a 15-year campaign by a group of locals to obtain a galley for the Surrey town – was designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who designed the London Eye. Chair of the judges, Sue MacGregor, said: “It was a difficult final choice for the judges, but in the end
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