Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 12:19 UK

Centre considered for 100k award

Ruthin Craft Centre
The centre recently underwent a 4.5m extension and upgrade

A team of judges has visited a Denbighshire craft centre to decide if it is worthy of the art world's biggest single cash prize, of £100,000.

Ruthin Craft Centre is one of 10 UK venues long-listed for the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries 2009.

The three judges will decide if it is to be shortlisted ahead of the final announcement on 18 June.

The Art Fund has already described it as "the most important gallery for contemporary craft in Wales".

The centre recently underwent a £4.5m extension and upgrade with new galleries, studios and an education suite.

The prize is awarded to the museum or gallery whose project "demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence".

It is the second year that the Art Fund charity has sponsored the prize.

This is a very strong competition and it's very flattering to be on such an interesting list
Philip Hughes, centre director

David Barrie, Art Fund director, said: "All the long listed museums and galleries have shown exceptional creativity and ambition.

"They have made excellent use of new technology, architecture and innovative displays to enable their visitors to get the most out of their collections and exhibitions."

Three members of the judging panel including Sir Robert Crawford CBE, former director general of the Imperial War Museum, Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry and Art Fund trustee Sally Osman visited the gallery on Wednesday.

Judges Grayson Perry, Sir Robert Crawford and Sally Osman
Judges Grayson Perry, Sir Robert Crawford and Sally Osman look at one of the pieces in the centre

Asked what he and the other judges were looking for, artist Grayson Perry said: "I'm a bit allergic to innovation because I think most things have been done.

"I look for the quality and the look of things, how beautiful they are and how well done they are and this place goes pretty well."

He said he had been a "bit worried" that the centre looked "industrial" in the pictures he had seen but added that it looked "much nicer in the flesh".

Centre director Philip Hughes said winning the prize would enable the centre to work closely with the town through projects in the community.

He said it would also enable the centre to generate more money through match funding.

The mitre for the Bishop of London 1996 on display in the centre
The mitre for the Bishop of London 1996 on display in the centre

He added: "This is a very strong competition and it's very flattering to be on such an interesting list.

"There are some amazing places on the list and the majority of them are far bigger than Ruthin Craft Centre with far more funding and staff."

Visitor Jan Hore from Chester said the centre would be a very "worthy winner".

Her husband Richard, an artist, said: "It's a brilliant gallery. We're very lucky to have something like this in the north west. It's excellent, there's no other word for it."

Another visitor Olive Jones from Greenfield, Holywell, Flintshire said: "I think it's very nice. The talent of the artists really stands out."



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SEE ALSO
Wedgwood museum up for art prize
27 Feb 09 |  Arts & Culture
Multi-million arts venue revamp
25 Jul 08 |  North East Wales
Arts funding 'should be flexible'
15 Jun 08 |  Mid Wales
3.1m for craft centre's renewal
10 Dec 05 |  North East Wales
National art treasures go local
11 Dec 04 |  North East Wales

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