Meet our second Family-in-Residence, Ebn’s family!


Hello. I am Ebn. I am 8 years old and I have been coming to MK Gallery for Start the Art and Saturday Studio since I was 2 years old.

I am not very good at reading and writing because I have Autistic Spectrum Disorder but I have a BIG imagination and I love doing all sorts of art, especially when you can make a mess!

My mummy is Ilundi. She used to do graphics and street dance. My RanRan (grandma) is Dawn. She is a textile artist now but she used to be a teacher and ran a puppet company and a circus. My grandpa is Ian. He takes photos and videos and likes dancing to rock ‘n’ roll. My Uncle is Tymon. He is Timoni the Clown. He performs in a circus and makes costumes and props. My other uncles, Joe and Duncan may come to help if they are not working elsewhere.

Our event is about enjoying making and doing art things together as a family. We would like to show you how we enjoy watching wildlife, make animal costumes, dance like the animals and make and perform puppet shows about them. Please come and enjoy the fun with us.

Alex Evans, a community artist, has been inspiring us and helping us. We have been making preparations by choosing the best animal videos to copy and making sample masks and headdresses. I can’t wait to share them with you. You can take yours home.

We were lucky to be invited to be the Family-in-Residence, probably because we come to Saturday Studio so often but I think any family can ask to be the one.

Our event, called Wild Rumpus, after Maurice Sendak’s story is on:

Sunday 25 September from 1pm until 3pm
Please book online by clicking here.

This event is for children 0 – 11 years and all their family.
£1 per person on the door.
I think its the best £1’s worth in the whole of Milton Keynes!

Find out more about MK Gallery’s Family-in-Residence scheme here.

Families flock to MK Playday

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016


We were delighted to welcome almost 400 children and adults to our stand at MK Playday earlier this month.

On Wednesday 3 August, we continued the fun after our weekly Start the Art session by heading over to nearby Campbell Park for MK Playday, which is an annual free children’s event in Milton Keynes, funded by the MK Community Foundation.

Families worked together with artist Alice Boland-Rhodes to create a beautiful, colourful chime installation.

As you can see from the photos, there was a great turnout and we were excited to deliver creative and messy activities in the wonderful setting of Campbell Park, which the Gallery is very lucky to have on its doorstep.

Take a look at our Flickr account for more photos of the day and keep an eye on our website for forthcoming family events.





MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016


MK Gallery patrons visit Juergen Teller’s new studio

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

The Gallery is working with 6a architects on its major renovation and expansion. Last week, our patrons enjoyed a tour led by 6a’s Tom Emerson of one of their recently completed building projects, photographer Juergen Teller’s studio in North London. MK Gallery patron, Peter Howard, describes the visit:

“The artist and fashion photographer Juergen Teller’s new studio is a bright spot in a nondescript part of west London. A group from MK Gallery was shown around last week by the architect, Tom Emerson of 6a architects, who is of course responsible for designing the major extension and remodelling of MK Gallery. Interestingly, a solo show by Juergen Teller, Don’t Suffer Too Much, took place in MK Gallery in 2003.

The studio occupies a narrow but deep plot in a terrace. Tom explained that it is really three square buildings aligned down the length of the plot, separated by landscaped courtyards. The first contains two storeys of conservation storage and offices, the second is a spacious top-lit studio, while the third is more domestic in character. Glass doors and covered walkways down one side of the site set up a linear route from the entrance, linking all three buildings through the courtyards.

A palate of in-situ concrete, plain concrete blocks, and large windows onto the courtyards gives the scheme an understated dignity, and the neutral tones that Teller required. The lack of finishing plaster and the exposed electrical conduits impart a gritty precision that challenged the builder, but result in a finely crafted place, while remnants of the historic party walls and an approach to landscaping that derives from a study of London bomb sites establish a truly London context.

Having visited this finely designed project, we came away feeling impatient to see the completed new MK Gallery.”

The tour was followed by the UK premiere of Chaises Musicales, Swiss artist and past MK Gallery exhibitor Eric Hattan’s recent performance piece with musician, composer and fellow countryman, Julian Sartorius. The event, which was held at Café OTO in Dalston, was also the UK launch of a new catalogue published by Holzwarth and MK Gallery, Works 1979-2015, surveying Hattan’s career to date. Video footage of the performance will be available to watch on our Media Channel shortly.

MK Gallery patrons generously support the Gallery’s work and in exchange receive access to unique events, tours and activities. If you would like to know more about becoming a patron, please contact Clare Wood on 01908 558 313 or email

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