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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Lowry gallery opens

Salford's new Lowry centre cost 106m to build
A 106m art and theatre centre in Salford has been opened to the public by Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

The Lowry, a multi-cultural arts centre, has been built in what used to be the heart of Salford's dockland, an area of massive industrial decline.

It is hoped the centre, which also includes two theatres, an interactive gallery and cafes, art shops and restaurants, will lead to the regeneration of one of Britain's poorest cities.

It is a major centre for the performing arts which will provide jobs and help regenerate the area socially and economically

Chris Smith
The Lowry centre, which stands on the Manchester Ship Canal on Salford Quays, will house the world's largest collection of paintings by LS Lowry, Salford's most famous son, rescuing many from a cramped basement in the city's art gallery.

"It is a major centre for the performing arts which will provide jobs and help regenerate the area socially and economically," Mr Smith said as he opened the centre.

A total of 55 paintings and 278 drawings by Lowry, famous for his matchstick figures, will be rotated at the centre and up to 100 will be on show at a time.

Going to the Match is one of Lowry's best-known works
Among them is Going to the Match which broke the record for modern art when it sold at Sotheby's for 1,926,500 last December.

The Lowry is the first of several landmark projects aimed at regenerating the area.

Soon to follow are the Imperial War Museum of the North, a digital technology exhibition as well as shops and hotels.

The hope is that the galleries and theatres at the Lowry will bring more than two million people a year to the docks and create a new centre for Salford.

LS Lowry
LS Lowry: Famous pictures of matchstick men
The Lowry centre opened with a major production - To You - aimed at drawing the audience into the performance.

It will be followed by a fireworks display and a dramatic water pageant.

Future attractions include the premiere of La Bayadere by the Paris Opera Ballet, which has not performed in Britain for 15 years.

The centre's construction has benefited from around 54m from the Arts Council and the Millennium Commission but it now depends on ticket sales to keep it afloat.

All the theatre productions will be staged by touring companies to avoid the costs of maintaining a theatre company.

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27 Apr 00 | UK
Salford's most famous son
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