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

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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

 

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

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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”.

City Club Partners Meeting

Following the recent exciting news of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence (AfE) Award, we were delighted host a first meeting of our City Club programme partners last night, attracting good numbers despite the wet and windy weather! 

The meeting gave partners the chance to hear about their respective organisations and activities via short informal presentations.  In welcoming partners, Director Anthony Spira described the broad scope and ambition of the City Club  project which already includes some 56 partners.  Whilst the £750,000 enabling grant from the AfE is fantastic, Anthony noted that there is still a further £300,000 to raise in order to deliver the full project vision. Everyone was thanked for participating, especially programme strand lead partners Bletchley Park, The Stables, On the Verge and Milton Keynes Arts Centre. The proposal to meet again in three months’ time to hear how early ideas for the various project strands are progressing was agreed by partners.

Those who contributed short presentations last night were: Anthony Spira, Director, MK Gallery; Cllr Liz Gifford, (who will Chair the City Club Steering Group); Lucy Bedford, Arts Development Officer, MK Council; Monica Ferguson, CEO, The Stables; Iain Standen, CEO, Bletchley Park; Claire Sapsford and Thomas Eke, Milton Keynes Arts Centre; Dr Andy Hewitt, Freee (artist collective); Simon Wright, Curator of Public Programmes, MK Gallery; Myriam Metcalfe, On the Verge; Yaw Asiyama (Milton Keynes artist); Victoria Mayes, Head of Learning, MK Gallery and Claire Louise Staunton, Inheritance Projects & Research Curator, MK Gallery. There was also a short video contribution from Project Art Works, Hastings. 

There will be opportunities for other partners to present their projects and ideas at future meetings.

A City Club Creative Producer post is currently being advertised.  The deadline for applications is 21 March 2016.  For full details visit our website HERE

 

Behind the Scenes: Building Signage

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Since last autumn we’ve been informing passing visitors about MK Gallery expansion with a combination of posters and vinyl signs that can be seen at eye level on our main building and project space. But yesterday we were pleased at last to add  some boldly-scaled text signs high up on the main gallery, to further promote the exciting news of our expansion.

We’ve added a few simple words that can be read in association with the existing gallery logos on two façades.  Now, from across Midsummer Boulevard, drivers and pedestrians can easily read the message “MK Gallery is expanding” and on our main entrance in Margaret Powell, thousands of theatre-goers and other passers-by will see the message “MK Gallery reopening 2017”. This signage scheme will remain in place for most of the construction period, and is intended to be visible above the safety and security site hoardings that will enclose the building later this spring.

Behind the scenes a surprising amount of work went into getting a few words up high on the building! We teamed up with MK-based company Signarama for the project who know our building well, as they successfully instated our striking branded graphics scheme over 5 years ago. Work began last summer, with the recommendation of a cost-effective and convenient vinyl signage method, that met our brief.

Tracy Clark of Signarama explains: “As the painted rendered surface of MK Gallery’s main building has an “orange peel” rather than perfectly smooth finish, we wanted to be confident that the vinyl would survive weathering and stick properly.  For this reason we produced some sample letters printed onto vinyl with an ultra tack adhesive and applied a protective matt laminate over the top.  We then ran a test application of the letters for four months on an inconspicuous bit of wall at the staff entrance. Inspecting the test patch last week, we were satisfied that the vinyl material was up to the job and happy to proceed.

In the meantime we applied to MK Council Planning Department for the relevant advertising planning consent. Once again, Signarama provided support by producing detailed scaled drawings / photographic visualisations for the application, indicating the exact position and scale of the text on the building. We also shared the design for the signs with our neighbour MK Theatre in case they had any feedback, and we were pleased to have their endorsement of our advertising planning application from their General Manager, Emma Sullivan.

Since 31 December 2015 when we were granted advertising planning approval, we’ve had very wet weather and some lively hurricane force winds! But yesterday Signarama felt that the conditions were right to work at height to install. Taking advantage of a perfectly still, sunny, if rather chilly afternoon, they completed the task in a couple of hours, carefully avoiding the hoards of school children filing around our building at the start and finish of “Gangsta Granny” at MK Theatre.

Our thanks to Signarama for all their professional assistance. We love the results and hope you do too. Here is a slide show of some pictures taken during the installation.

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The Green Town Group Project Starts

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The Green Town Group outdoor learning project started this week with a packed day of school and outdoor location visits by lead artist James Aldridge, who writes:

On Monday I visited all four participating schools, and went exploring in the two Milton Keynes Parks Trust locations we’ll be using, Howe Park Wood and Campbell Park. The two sites are so full of contrast, yet equally full of possibility.

It was brilliant to meet all the children that I’ll be working with. While visiting the four schools I showed them images of my artwork to get them thinking about what is possible – how we can use art to explore, record and interpret different places. 

The children have so much enthusiasm and loads of ideas of their own, which is great. I want them to feel real ownership of this project, and for that to happen it needs to be focused around what they themselves notice and are excited by.”

The four participating primary schools are: St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School, Bletchley; Holne Chase Primary School, Bletchley; Brooklands Farm Primary School and Pepper Hill School in Bradville.

Here are some pictures taken during James’ visit to Howe Park Wood this week:

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And are some pictures of James’ research visit to Campbell Park:

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The Green Town Group project is supported by The Ernest Cook Trust.  For more details see website HERE.