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Prestigious art collection heading to Glyndŵr University

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Photo: The Supper at Emmaus by Ceri Richards (1903-1971). Used with permission of Methodist Modern Art Collection.

Glyndŵr University is to host what has been described as ‘the best denominational collection of modern art outside the Vatican’.

For ten weeks between January 19 and March 26 forty works from the collection will be on display across two venues; Wrexham Methodist Church in Regent Street and Oriel Sycharth at the University.

“I first came across the Methodist Collection of Modern Art when I stumbled into a tent at the Greenbelt Festival. I could not believe that the Methodist Church – my Church – had such a wonderful collection. I was so overwhelmed that I wept,” said Rev Richard Sharples, Minister at the town centre Methodist Church.

The collection is one of the best kept secrets of the Methodist Church. It was the initiative, in the early 1960s, of a Methodist layman, Dr John Morel Gibbs of Penarth, just outside Cardiff.

He was very conscious that within the Methodist Church and indeed within Non-Conformist Churches in general there was little appreciation of the insights that contemporary artists could bring to the Christian story.

Today the collection comprises 50 works including works by Patrick Heron, Graham Sutherland, Eric Gill and Ceri Richards, and is regularly exhibited across the UK.

Estelle Thompson, head of division of media, arts and design at Glyndŵr University, said: “We are thrilled and excited that a collection of art of this stature is coming to the university and Wrexham.

“Glyndŵr University is at the heart of the community and this affords us an opportunity to bring world class art to them.”

Both venues will be open 9.30am-4pm Monday to Saturday. In addition a full programme of concerts, seminars, conversations and workshops will accompany the exhibition.

Entry to the exhibition and to all events on the programme is free.

“I see the arts as a common language shared by people inside and outside the Church,” added Rev Sharples. “We hope that the exhibition will open up a space for conversation between the artist and the viewer, between the Church and Glyndŵr University, between the sacred and secular, between the believer and the non-believer.”

Guided Tours (English or Welsh) are available by arrangement and sessions tailored to both Primary and Secondary Schools are being offered to schools across and beyond the Borough.

Further details can be obtained by ringing 01978-293950 or by visiting www.glyndwr.ac.uk/orielsycharthgallery or www.wrexham-methodist.org.uk

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