A high profile endorsement from Hollywood actor Brad Pitt and the latest Dr Who, Peter Capaldi has fast tracked the plight of the The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) devastated by fire last month. The pair have helped launch an appeal fund in a bid to raise up to £20m for the restoration of its fire-damaged C. R. Mackintosh building. The cost of repairing the listed structure is estimated to be between £20m and £35m with additional costs incurred to replace and repair the contents.
The iconic building is insured for £56m. A separate policy covers the contents. However It is unclear how much will be paid out. The fire occured on 23 May this year extensively damaging 90% of the structure and about 70% of the contents. Quick thinking Firefighters managed to save the structure from total destruction. GSA set up a Phoenix Bursary scheme to help students affected by the blaze to recreate lost work and the final graduate exhibitions went ahead as planned.
The scheme attracted a £750,000 contribution from the Scottish government, which has also pledged £5m in match funding towards the restoration costs. The UK government has also said it would make a substantial contribution once the restoration costs are known. GSA hopes that up to £20m can be raised from a public appeal and is understood to be hopeful of attracting donations ranging from small public gifts to larger acts of benevolence from philanthropists.
In a specially recorded message former GSA student Capaldi said: “I’m so sorry for all of you who have lost your degree shows. “All I can say to you is that you are artists. This will only add to your story. You will be reborn, and rise from the ashes even stronger.”
Pitt’s interest in the work of Mackintosh is well documented. He visited the architect’s Hill House in Helensburgh, in the 1990s, returning again with wife Angela Jolie in 2011 while filming World War Z in Glasgow. GSA director, Professor Tom Inns, Pitt and Capaldi would have an important role to play in the fundraising appeal.
He said: “We are delighted that both Peter Capaldi, one of our most celebrated alumni, and Brad Pitt, whose admiration for Mackintosh is well known, have both joined our campaign and will be Trustees on The Mackintosh Appeal.”