Since January 2020, the Friends have donated £10,000 to help buy a range of works created by artists, and members have raised almost another £10,000 to help purchase The Sculpture Michael Lyons.
The Friends, set up in 1970, has raised tens of thousands of pounds and are now back in full swing organising trips around the UK and hosting fortnightly coffee mornings.
It is a registered charity whose funds helped the gallery start build a collection of British and American Pop Art. The collection is now internationally renowned and was a concept created and developed by 1970s curator David Rodgers.
City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “The Friends of Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Museums are such an important group, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they do in supporting the gallery, working in partnership with us and helping grow the city’s art collection.”
Chairman of the Friends, Tom Jenkins, added: “Whilst we are always delighted to receive donations or bequests, we have raised funds via members’ annual subscriptions, our optional 5 day annual holiday, day trips and talks.
“Our charity has no paid employees and officers are volunteers committed to giving members good value for money and work hard to provide a varied and interesting programme. Friends play an important part in supporting the city’s art collection and adding to it for future generations.”
In the past the Friends have helped buy many artworks including Campbell Soup (1968) by Andy Warhol, Isabella Lee and Child (1959) by Joseph Highmore, Chestnuts (c.1935 – 45) by Stanley Spencer, Avebury (1937) by Paul Nash, The Creation (Adam and Eve) (c.1869 – 1939) by George Spencer Watson, Untitled by Julie McNally Hayes, Donuts, Coffee Cups & Comics (1962) by Jann Haworth and Colour Her Gone by Pauline Boty.
Annual membership is £10 per person and £15 for a family. People can join by contacting the Membership Secretary, c/o Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DU, calling 01902 552055 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.