Viewpoint: Luton Culture’s new Chief Executive, Marie Kirbyshaw, enthuses about MK Gallery Expansion

Marie Kirbyshaw, Luton Culture, MK Calling 2015

Marie Kirbyshaw, Chief Executive of Luton Culture, visiting the MK Calling 2015 exhibition

Today we’re delighted to welcome Marie Kirbyshaw, the recently appointed Chief Executive of Luton Culture, to our blog. With ten years prior experience as Cultural Services Manager at Milton Keynes Council,  Marie is well placed to comment on MK Gallery Expansion. 

Marie writes:

Since it launched in October 1999 I’ve enjoyed seeing MK Gallery provide high quality experiences for both artists and audiences. For me this includes stand out exhibitions such as the inaugural Gilbert and George show, and one of my all time favourites, the exquisite Pae White exhibition, through to more intimate family workshops, as well as “Lost & Found”  activities (an MK Gallery mentored Young People’s programme) where young individuals were given opportunities to curate parallel artistic programmes, enabling them to grow in both skills and confidence.

I was pleased to work with MK Gallery from the early stages of the expansion project in order to support the £2m capital funding contribution from Milton Keynes Council and to ensure that value is returned in benefits to local people. I’m thrilled at the prospect of MK Gallery delivering an even broader cultural programme through its expanded building, and the positive impact it can have on everyone’s daily experience of living in, working or visiting Milton Keynes.  

Although I have left MK Council, my interest in the Gallery continues as a visitor and I remain a strong advocate for arts and cultural in Milton Keynes.   So in this first week of closure of the main building, I wish Director Anthony Spira and his team every success in their work to bring this exciting project to fruition – it will be such an important and timely addition to the city in 2017, its 50th anniversary year!” 

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