Emptying the Gallery

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As we move ever closer to construction, Claire Corrin, MK Gallery’s Exhibitions Organiser, describes the work undertaken over the past couple of weeks to empty the building.

As anyone who has ever moved house will know, you always have much more stuff than you anticipate and after 17 years, MK Gallery is no exception.

The team and I have been extremely busy with clearing the building of workshop and AV equipment, catalogues and library books, all of which have been moved in to a storage unit until next year.

It’s an incredibly exciting time, albeit bittersweet, as light bounces off the empty gallery walls and sounds echo from room to room. We’ve documented the process for this blog post, and we hope that you enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos.

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MK Gallery expansion receives planning consent

MK Gallery expansion

MK Gallery expansion: indicative view of auditorium window. Courtesy 6a architects

With unanimous support, planning consent for the redevelopment and expansion of MK Gallery was granted at this evening’s MK Council Planning Committee meeting, enabling the delivery of this world-class building with award-winning architects, 6a.

Working to create a cultural, artistic and social centre with bar and café; auditorium for film, music and events; and dedicated community facilities, the Gallery will re-open in 2017, as part of the city-wide celebration of its 50th anniversary year.

Tonight’s decision applies to an adapted expansion plan which originally received planning approval in March 2015. The revised plan incorporates improvements including an auditorium making the most of stunning views over Campbell Park in Central Milton Keynes.

Commenting on the decision, MK Gallery’s Director Anthony Spira said:
We are thrilled to receive planning consent. The unanimous support of the application is an endorsement of the detailed design work undertaken over the past three years. We now look forward to getting underway with the build, seeing this world-class gallery come to fruition, and welcoming larger audiences from 2017”.

Arts Council England confirms major investment in MK Gallery Expansion

Visualisation of MK Gallery Expansion from Midsummer Boulevard

Visualisation of MK Gallery Expansion from Midsummer Boulevard

MK Gallery is delighted to announce that Arts Council England has confirmed an award of £2,950,000 to the MK Gallery Expansion, following the Gallery’s successful Stage Two capital funding application. This major investment brings the realisation of the £10m renovation and expansion project a significant step closer, with MK Gallery having secured almost 90% of its fundraising target.

The Expansion will double the current exhibition spaces, provide new, dedicated education and community facilities, a new café and shop, and three new cinema screens for independent film. This development will enable the gallery to substantially broaden its world class artistic programme, with occasional historical as well as contemporary exhibitions, alongside film, talks, events and wide ranging opportunities for community groups and schools .

Commenting on the Award, MK Gallery Director, Anthony Spira, said: “I’m delighted to share this exciting news. We are enormously grateful to Arts Council England for joining Milton Keynes Council in recognising the important role culture plays in Milton Keynes and the wider region. This opportunity will enable the Gallery to diversify its programme and to engage with much larger audiences.

Hedley Swain, Area Director for South East, Arts Council England said: “MK Gallery plays a key role in bringing more arts and culture to the region and makes an important contribution to contemporary visual arts. We are pleased to be able to support the gallery in its continued development and expansion through our Capital programme, enabling them to be more resilient and also helping to develop and widen both its audience and artistic offer.

Councillor Sarah Betteley, MK Council’s Community Engagement and Empowerment portfolio holder added: “This is excellent news for Milton Keynes, and we are pleased to work alongside Arts Council England as investors in this significant cultural development.  The Council has committed to MK Gallery Expansion as one of its strategic arts objectives, and looks forward to seeing it grow and thrive in line with the growth of Milton Keynes in the coming years, supporting our vision for a world class MK.

MK Gallery has assembled a specialist team of design consultants and advisers to deliver the Expansion, led by 6a architects. The Gallery’s planning application was submitted to MK Council in October and is currently available to view via the Council’s planning portal.

MK Gallery is currently inviting individuals and businesses to help with the final 10% of fundraising. Opportunities range from membership of the MK Gallery Patron Scheme to supporting the Gallery’s 15 for 15 campaign, which allows donors to mark the Gallery’s first successful 15 by making donations of £15. That’s just £1 for every year that MK Gallery has been delivering world-class exhibitions and events.

Boyd & Evans support Gallery Expansion

Photo: Peter Ryan

Photo: Peter Ryan

“As long established members of the artist community of Milton Keynes we wholeheartedly welcome the proposals for MK Gallery renovation and expansion. Residents of MK for 33 years, and internationally practising artists since 1968, we feel well placed to comment. Additionally we advised on the original MK Gallery development, and held a solo show there in 2005. During its first 15 years of operation we’ve seen the enormous difference that MK Gallery has made to the cultural life of this city as well as the perception of the city in the wider world. We see an overwhelming case for expansion and the gallery’s even greater potential to serve the city and region with enlarged and enhanced facilities. We are really excited by the prospect of the increased gallery spaces allowing an even broader range of exhibitions, bringing in an even wider audience, and the opportunity to inspire yet more emerging artists by having first hand access to world class art.”  Boyd & Evans

MK Gallery planning application… submitted!

We are delighted to announce that today we submitted our planning application for the expansion of the Gallery! MK Council will now validate the application before uploading it to the planning portal, where you will be able to comment on the plans. We will post the reference number on this blog as soon as it is available and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

Our Project Space exhibition opens today

We’ve been busy preparing MK Gallery’s Project Space for the exhibition opening of MK Gallery Expansion, a display of floor plans, elevations, sections, visualisations and models sharing current ideas for the gallery’s expansion by 6a architects.

mkgThe exhibition, which opens today, runs until Sunday 27 April, and includes a Special Viewing next Thursday 10 April when the Design Team will be on hand to discuss their exciting ideas and answer any questions that you may have.

We look forward to receiving your thoughts on the scheme whilst it is still in development. I will be available during the week, Tuesday to Thursday from 12noon – 5pm and Saturday 26 April 12 – 6pm, for questions and feedback, in addition to gallery staff  who will be available throughout the exhibition.

There’s also lots for families to explore this month with our Tuesday Start the Art sessions for children aged under 4 and Saturday Mini Makers for over 5s looking at architecture. We hope that parents and toddlers can join us for the Start the Art on Tuesday 22 April at 11am, where member’s of 6a’s team will be joining the session to learn more about your needs and expectations with the new expanded gallery.