Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 17:55 UK

Gallery's 4m drive to cut fees

Pallant House Gallery (picture by Andy Paradise)
Prize judges described Pallant House as "a jewel of a gallery" in 2007

A prize-winning West Sussex art gallery has launched a £4m fundraising drive to help it scrap admission charges.

Pallant House in Chichester, West Sussex, wants to abolish its entrance fees in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Grants provide about 25% of the funding for the gallery, which won the prestigious Gulbenkian Prize in 2007. The rest comes from admission charges.

The gallery said it had been building up an endowment fund over the past several years but still needed £4m.

'Lasting legacy'

Stefan van Raay, director of Pallant House Gallery, said: "We now have just £4m left to raise and with everyone's help, hope to make entry to the collection free by 2012, as our contribution to the cultural and sporting celebrations which will take place in that Olympic year.

"It's something we've always hoped to offer - free entry to everyone, forever. It would be a lasting legacy to Chichester and the UK."

He said if they reached their target some temporary exhibitions would still have an admission charge because of the higher lending costs.

The gallery will be opening its doors free on Saturday 16 May as part of the launch of its "Free entry by 2012 campaign".

The judges of the Gulbenkian Prize 2007 said they were "won over" by the integration of Pallant House's original townhouse with its modern gallery extension.

The gallery is home to one of the UK's finest collections of 20th Century British art.

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