Talk Invitation: David Batchelor, Sam Jacob and Will Nash in Conversation with Rebecca Heald on 4 November

David Batchelor: Chromocochere (artist visualisation)

David Batchelor: Chromocochere (artist visualisation)

We continue our artistic and event programming during our main building closure period, most obviously at present via our Flashback archival project exploring our rich 16-year exhibition history.

But we’ve also been working with Milton Keynes Council recently to deliver an offsite commission by artist David Batchleor. Installation of Chromocochere, his striking sculptural intervention above a Porte Cochere beside the gallery on Midsummer Boulevard, began today (see pictures below), despite the rain!

Batchelor is one of four distinguished artists who were commissioned by MK Council and MK Gallery with funding from Arts Council England to make public art in response to the iconic Porte Cocheres and covered walkways in Central Milton Keynes. Read about all four artist’s works HERE.

We are delighted that three of the four commissioned artists, David Batchelor, Sam Jacob and Will Nash, are free to join us at 7pm next Wednesday 4 November for a talk timed to coincide with the installation of their new works in the city centre. Rebecca Heald, a curator and Royal College of Art lecturer, will facilitate the In Conversation event, which should provide a unique insight into their respective practices, and the ideas that lie behind their latest, sculptural installations.

MK Gallery’s Director Anthony Spira said today:

Prominently sited at this end of Midsummer Boulevard David Batchelor’s ‘Chromocochere’ is a work that will be enjoyed by thousands of Theatre and Gallery visitors, motorists and pedestrians for years to come. We are delighted to have worked with MK Council to deliver this offsite commission from David, and to have lent support and advice in the delivery of the other commissioned artworks. One of our main aims as an organisation is to connect artists with audiences, so we are delighted to offer this opportunity for people to meet and hear David, Sam and Will talk about their work in response to Milton Keynes’ unique public realm.”

You are warmly invited to join us for this free event which is open to everyone. Pre-booking is required; you can reserve your ticket now, HERE.

Installation of David Batchelor's Chromocochere starting in Midsummer Boulevard today

Installation of David Batchelor’s Chromocochere starting in Midsummer Boulevard today

Chromocochere by David Batchelor during installation today, 28 October 2015

Invitation: Flashback Launch Thursday 8 October

Whilst our main building is closed for renovation and construction we’ll be exploring our rich exhibition history with you via our ‘Flashback’ archival displays.  Click HERE for more details.

We share below our e-invite to the first Flashback display launch tomorrow evening; everyone is welcome!  Did you visit when the gallery first opened 16 years ago in October 1999? If so, what do you remember?! We hope you are free to drop in and tell us about your experience and recollections, and bring along others who may be interested in finding out more about how the gallery all started!Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 17.25

Future Histories

An information sharing event held at Stowe School on Sunday 20 September 2015


We were delighted to partner with Stowe School on Sunday evening to host Future Histories, an information sharing event to help us raise awareness of MK Gallery expansion. Sponsored by public affairs consultancy Taylor Insights, the event allowed us to share news of our capital development with over 130 guests from the surrounding area, including the High Sherriff of Buckinghamshire, Mrs Francesca Skelton.  You can see some of the event photos on our media channel HERE.

MK Gallery - Future Histories 4MKG 200915 128

Following welcome drinks, guests enjoyed three presentations. Director Anthony Spira, described the scope of the project and signalled the benefits it would bring to the surrounding region. Stowe’s Headmaster, Anthony Wallersteiner gave an engaging talk about the house and School’s history, and Tom Emerson, 6a architects, described the English landscape tradition and traced historical and visual connections between picturesque Stowe and the urban design of modernist Milton Keynes, offering a design context for MK Gallery expansion.


We share here some of the fascinating slide pairings Tom used in his presentation:

Campbell Park, central Milton Keynes, paired with a view from Stowe landscape gardens

Campbell Park, central Milton Keynes, paired with a view from Stowe landscape gardens

Gridded landscape and architecture in the United States

Gridded landscape and architecture in the United States

Landscape and urban design - from Manhattan to Milton Keynes

Landscape and urban design – from Manhattan to Milton Keynes

Circles in the landscape - ancient and modern

Circles in the landscape – ancient and modern

View in thecentre:mk, and a visualisation of MK Gallery's new cafe/bar area

View in thecentre:mk, and a visualisation of MK Gallery’s new cafe/bar area

Stowe landscape, and a visualisaion of hte multi-purposes auditorium overlooking Campbell Park

Stowe landscape, and a visualisaion of the multi-purpose auditorium overlooking Campbell Park

Page spreads from the booklet produced to accompany the event can be viewed on our Media Channel HERE

Invitation to City Club Presentation

Andrew Mahaddie: Theme Park, Bletchley Brick Pits Area, MKDC, 1974.

Andrew Mahaddie: Theme Park, Bletchley Brick Pits Area, MKDC, 1974.

Gareth Jones and Nils Norman
Thursday 17 September 2015 / 7pm / Free Book tickets

We look forward to welcoming artists Gareth Jones and Nils Norman to MK Gallery this Thursday evening for their presentation on “City Club”, the unrealised plans from the 1970s for a national leisure complex in Milton Keynes, and how it provides the starting point for their concept for activating public spaces in central Milton Keynes. This scheme could include a garden, a piazza and a playground.

The event marks the start of a detailed research period by Gareth and Nils on their City Club proposal; a second presentation is currently being arranged for early December to share their research findings.

For more details about the artists and this week’s talk click HERE

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


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.