Byline: Karen Price
AS you wander through the seven new-look galleries at National Museum Cardiff, you instantly realise you are surrounded by one of the world's most important collections of Impressionist art.
From Renoir's Blue Lady to Van Gogh's Rain Auvers, Wales can proudly boast it's home to some of the most sought-after and high-profile paintings.
In just six months' time, the museum will officially launch a further six new galleries which will display Welsh art and other contemporary pieces with connections to Wales.
It will mean that some of our treasures which have been hidden away for years in the dusty vaults due to a lack of wall space will finally get the airing they deserve. It will also be a cause for celebration for all those who have long been campaigning for a dedicated gallery for Welsh art.
While the pounds 6m project may have been in the pipeline for many years, the man now responsible for overseeing the work is David Anderson, pictured, the new director general of Amgueddfa Cymru: National Museum Wales, which runs seven sites, including the Cardiff museum and gallery.
But it's not the only major initiative he's inherited - he will also be in charge of a massive pounds 20m overhaul at St Fagans: National History Museum, which will include the introduction of the National Archaeology Collection and extended time-line to cover the 250,000-year history of humanity in Wales.
And, of course, he will also be keeping a close eye on the operations at the other five sites - National Slate Museum in Llanberis, National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, Big Pit in Blaenavon, National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon and National Wool Museum in Drefach. "We have a commitment to visitors and want to improve their experience at all of our sites - it's really important that we do that," says Belfast-born Mr Anderson, who was a director at London's world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum before taking the job in Wales.
But, for now, it's the completion of National Museum Cardiff's west wing, which is a priority.
The wing will feature six galleries which will open in July. The museum will reveal next month which pieces of post-1950 Welsh art will go on display there.
Up until now, there has been just one gallery to exhibit contemporary art but the revamp means there will be about a 40% increase in floor space.
The extra room has been made by moving the archaeology collection to St Fagans, where it will be transformed. …