14 July Project Update Meeting

Tom Emerson, 6a

Tom Emerson, 6a, with a sample of cladding material at the 14 July Project Update meeting. Photo: MK NEWS

We were delighted to welcome people to our Capital Expansion Project Update meeting yesterday.

Director Anthony Spira introduced the session by outlining the genesis of the expansion project and the discussions with our audiences that have been central to its development.

Tom Emerson expressed his passion for the design history of Milton Keynes and shared examples of 6a’s work, including Raven Row, South London Gallery, and Churchill College Cambridge, with emphasis on their experience in the cultural and educational sectors.

We filmed the illustrated presentation and you can view it on YouTube HERE.

Subjects of interest in the Q&A session included:

  • Visitor access routes to the multi-purpose auditorium (via lift or staircase to the second floor)
  • Quality/comfort of the raked seating in the auditorium (will be the best we can afford)
  • Whether there would be a roof terrace (not in current plans)
  • The reflective qualities of the stainless steel cladding (the finish is folded, fragmenting reflections)
  • How the MK Community Foundation grant will be used to support improved accessibility
  • (Changing Places toilet, lifts accommodating two wheelchairs at a time; height adjustable furniture, wider than statutory requirement doors, exhibition galleries all on ground floor with full level access)
  • Public seating to support longer contemplation of works (furniture options still tbc)
  • Staff offices, deliveries and storage (offices will be located in the Project Space building; deliveries will be moved to the rear of the new extension, sharing existing infrastructure with the Theatre; storage is modest but efficient)
  • Spaces around the gallery (MK Gallery is proposing an exciting scheme to support improvements in Midsummer Boulevard East, underpinned by the “City Club” concept from original plans for Milton Keynes. Ideally MK Gallery would like to see, for example, an artist designed playground adjacent to the new Learning Space, seating and lighting enhancements to Margaret Powell Square, and artworks improving the nearby underpass linking with Campbell Park, helping to develop the cultural quarter)
  • Local parking/transport (MK Gallery would love to see any developments that improve the linkages between, for example MK Rail Station and MK Gallery)

Successful launch of final show in current building

MK Calling 2015  Launch

Group photo of some of the 70 MK Calling 2015 artists and performers at the start of the preview on 2 July 2015.

Last week we had a hugely successful launch of MK Calling 2015, the final exhibition in our building in its current form before we start our ambitious renovation and expansion.

With an artist group photo at the start, and welcome speeches followed by a hog roast, music and two performances, a great time was had by more than 500 people, and the weather was perfect! We’ve posted some of the preview pictures HERE to give you a flavour of the occasion.

During the welcome speeches Julia Upton of the MK Community Foundation announced their fantastic £311,000 grant award for access in the new building.  Pete Marland, Leader of MK Council, described MK Gallery as a hidden cultural gem and looked forward to the expanded version in 2017 and its contribution to the future cultural life of the city.  Listen to the speeches  here:


Join us on 14 July
Our display of the latest expansion floor plans in the ground floor Events Space proved popular; don’t forget you can see the plans again and hear architect Tom Emerson from 6a talking about them at a free event on Tuesday 14 July at 1pm.  Do join us  as we’d really love your views on how everything is shaping up. Find more information and booking details HERE.

We welcome your support
Fundraising is going well, but as Director Anthony Spira reminded us during the speeches we still need to raise more for the expansion and welcome your support.  Here are some different ways you can help:

  • Make a donation on site and via our website
  • Make a text donation by texting MKGA17 £    followed by the amount of your donation to 70070. You can text donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.
  • Become a patron of MK Gallery
  • Talk to us about major gifts and naming rights

If you wish to discuss ways to support, please contact:
Clare Wood
Head of Development
01908 558 313 or cwood@mkgallery.org


MK Community Foundation announce grant supporting access

Julia Upton, MK Community Foundation

Julia Upton, Chief Executive, MK Community Foundation, announcing the award of £311,000 for access facilities for the expanded MK Gallery from the Margaret Powell Foundation Fund on 2 July 2015.

We are thrilled to report that the MK Community Foundation has announced the award of a grant of £311,000 from the Margaret Powell Foundation Fund for state of the art access facilities in MK Gallery. The grant will ensure that by 2017 the expanded MK Gallery building will be accessible and enjoyable for everyone, including visitors with severe disabilities, their carers and families.

News of the award was confirmed by Julia Upton, Chief Executive of the MK Community Foundation before hundreds of guests during the welcome speeches at our summer party and MK Calling exhibition preview last night. Fittingly, the speeches took place in Margaret Powell Square, the public space in front of MK Theatre and MK Gallery.

Julia says:  “With the legacy of Margaret Powell, our new city’s first philanthropist and her commitment to Milton Keynes being accessible to everyone, regardless of age or disability, we were able to support this key cultural development for the community. It’s vital that the needs of disabled visitors to MK are embraced as we continue to build the city’s cultural infrastructure.”  

Anthony Spira, Director of MK Gallery says: “We are thrilled to be working with MK Community Foundation to ensure that the MK Gallery expansion fully serves the needs of our community. There is a strong link between culture and wellbeing and this grant enables us to bring the positive benefits of cultural engagement to everyone, whether by engaging with exhibitions and events, participating in targeted learning programmes or using Gallery resources to be inspired by the arts.”  

By 2017 the expanded gallery will include access routes of a generous width, accessible signs, portable seating and a Changing Places toilet – a facility for those whose needs mean they are unable to use a standard accessible toilet. These provisions will hugely enhance the experience of visiting MK Gallery and the Changing Places toilet will open up the venue to an entirely new audience that is currently unable to make extended visits to the Gallery.

The MK Community Foundation accepts funding applications from not-for-profit organisations working for the benefit of the community.

To hear opening speeches from the 2 July preview and summer party visit MKFM Radio website HERE

Invitation: Update Event

We’re delighted to be able to share our latest floor plans with you during our summer party and exhibition preview here tomorrow evening (2 July from 6pm-10pm). You will find the display in the Events Space on the ground floor of the Project Space facing the Gallery. Book your free preview ticket HERE.


MK Gallery Expansion Project Update
Tuesday 14 July / 1-2pm / Free / All welcome
RSVP by booking your ticket HERE

Join us at this informal lunchtime event when MK Gallery’s Director, Anthony Spira, and Tom Emerson of 6a architects will be talking through the latest plans. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and give your feedback. Tea and coffee will be provided.