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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Arts centre aims to be cultural capital
Elton John
Elton John has donated his wacky glasses
Naomi Campbell and Sir Elton John have donated memorabilia to a new 15m arts venue opening in Sheffield.

The supermodel has parted with the pair of platform shoes made famous when she took a tumble during a catwalk show.

Visitors to the new attraction will be able to see three pairs of wacky spectacles that were the trademark of singer Sir Elton.

The Millennium Galleries, opening on 5 April, is half-funded by the National Lottery and aims to put Sheffield on the map as the artistic capital of the north.

Naomi Campbell
Naomi's catwalk tumble hit the headlines
Organisers of the project are hoping for better success than lottery-funded attractions nearby which have failed to attract enough visitors.

The National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield cost 15m to set up but has been forced to close temporarily because of a low turnout.

The Earth Centre, billed as a green theme park, has also run into financial difficulties.

Guarantee

The Millennium Galleries project has been match-funded by the Millennium Commission, English Partnerships and Sheffield City Council among other organisations.

It also has ties with the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It hopes to attract 160,000 visitors within its first year.

Chief executive Gordon Rintoul said: "What sets us apart from other lottery-funded projects, like the National Centre for Popular Music, is that we are not reliant on visitor numbers.

"We are at the cultural heart of a project to regenerate Sheffield city centre and will receive a guaranteed grant from Sheffield City Council to meet our running costs."

The Millennium Galleries is made up of four separate galleries, designed for touring shows and static collections.

One gallery features metalwork and silverware from the workshops of Sheffield.

Another houses a collected gathered by Victorian philanthropist John Ruskin.

The first special exhibition has 250 pieces from the Victoria and Albert Museum on display including the manuscript for Charles Dickins' Bleak House.


In DepthIN DEPTH
BBC News Online looks at how the arts are funded in the UKArts funding
How the UK's cash for the arts is spent
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