Welsh Art Placed in Leading Offices, Hotels and Banks

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Byline: By SION BARRY Western Mail

Individuals and businesses are increasing seeing the value of making investment in art, according to the owners of a contemporary gallery in Cardiff.

Kooywood Gallery has attracted a UK-wide following among investors in Welsh art since it opened just over 12 months ago - and it has also completed a string of high-profile commissions to place art in leading hotels, offices and bank headquarters.

Director Roger Wood, who founded the gallery business along with co-director Rhian Kooy, said the success of the venture has reinforced their belief that there was an opportunity to augment Wales's thriving private arts sector.

He said, 'With the poor performance of pension-based products and pension funds, people are increasingly interested in tangible assets which are under their control. But as important is the fact that a piece of art can bring enormous pleasure to the owner.'

Mr Wood points to a recent survey undertaken by Axa Insurance and Investors Chronicle, which found that 87% of people questioned believed investment in art and antiques was suitable for them.

'It does not mean that 87% people invest in art, but it does go to show that if galleries such as ours can source talented artists, then the interest is out there,' Mr Wood said.

The Axa survey also found that art investment was ranked second only to 'property to live in' as a sound investment, beating investment in stocks and shares into third place.

The majority of people also saw art as offering home enhancement, while 16% saw it as adding to their pension fund.

Since opening its doors, the gallery in Museum Place, a stone's throw from the National Museum and Galleries of Wales, has forged links with a host of blue chip firms and organisations throughout Wales including Grant Thornton, The St David's Hotel & Spa, Allied Irish Bank and Park Plaza Cardiff

Ms Kooy added, 'When we first embarked on developing a new contemporary art gallery for Wales, we knew there was a major opportunity to highlight the work of a truly international standard that was being completed in Wales. …