Home is ‘where the art is’

…That’s the message from Swindon Museum and Art Gallery which has just launched a new digital project to bring its collection of modern art to people’s living rooms.

The project, which has been dubbed ‘Art on Tour At Home’, will enable the public to engage with the gallery’s modern art collection through social media, online resources, a dedicated blog, as well as art history podcasts.


The project will provide daily inspiration, learning and entertainment for the public in the comfort of their own homes.

Art on Tour was initially launched in September last year after Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed to display selected items from Swindon’s art and museum collection at rotating exhibitions at various heritage and civic buildings.

Since the project was established, Art on Tour has set up two temporary exhibitions at STEAM Museum and at the Council’s Civic Offices in Euclid Street with other exhibitions planned in the future.

Art on Tour aims to bring Swindon’s impressive art collection to a wider audience, conferring cultural and educational benefits on people right across the town. The new digital offering will provide the same benefits in an online space.

The gallery’s collection of Modern British Art, which comprises over 600 pieces of artwork, including three Turner Prize winners, is acknowledged to be one of the most nationally significant collections outside of London.

The collection covers 140 years of modern art and includes household names like L.S Lowry, Lucian Freud, Grayson Perry, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Michael Craig-Martin, Howard Hodgkin, Frank Auerbach, and Richard Long. The collection features work from most major movements and schools in Modern British Art, as well as an extensive collection of work by local artists like Desmond Morris.

‘Art on Tour At Home’ provides daily ‘Art Burst’ online learning resources to support families in lockdown, curated online galleries featuring the best of the collection, inspiring ‘Art Snaps’ podcasts, an art blog with news and interviews from the art world and much more.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Town Centre, Arts and Heritage, said: “I believe art should be seen, and not be limited to pictures hanging on a wall in a building.

“Art on Tour was my way to make Swindon’s art collection more accessible to as many people as possible. The staff involved have really run with the idea, and made it one of our most successful recent initiatives.

“Art on Tour at Home takes this to the next level and is about trying to think differently during this difficult time of the coronavirus lockdown. It is a new online way to share a daily insight into Swindon’s art, feature the best of the collection and support families.

“We are all learning so feedback is welcome!”

Mags Parker, Learning Officer for Art on Tour, added: “Regardless of where you are or who you are, there is something here for everyone to access, learn from, and enjoy.

“Galleries, museums and their collections are vital in difficult times, providing joy, comfort, reflection and inspiration.

“This collection is owned by the Borough and as such, belongs to us all. This project is the next best thing to hanging pieces of it on our living room walls next to the TV.”

To gain access to Art on Tour At Home follow the blog swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk/artontour or like @ArtonTour2020 on Facebook.

The second image attached is an oil painting from the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art – ‘Girl Selling Flowers’ by Desmond Morris. It is currently on display at the Swindon Borough Council Civic Offices. Painted in 1946. Purchased by the Friends of Swindon Museum & Art Gallery with the assistance of the Resource/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, 2001.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is located in the Old Town area of Swindon. The Museum was established in 1930 and displays local history, archaeology and geology. It tells the story of Swindon’s Jurassic past, its connections with the Roman Empire, and the more recent social history of this thriving town.

The Art Collection began in 1946 after a generous donation by local benefactor, H J P Bomford. It has a reputation as one of the best collections of Modern British Art outside London. The Museum and Art Gallery exists to safeguard, enhance, exhibit and celebrate Swindon’s collections for visitors, now and in the future. Supported by Swindon Borough Council, Art on Tour aims to share more art with more people in more places.