North East Connected

Home is where the art is for NGCA

THE North East’s oldest contemporary art gallery is moving to a new home in Sunderland.

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA), will be re-opening in a brand new gallery space in the National Glass Centre, on Sunderland Riverside in Spring 2018. 

Arts Council England’s Director for the North, Sarah Maxfield, announced the £375,000 relocation on a visit to the Sunderland (October 17th) It is one of a series of major investments in culture in the city including construction of a new theatre and the restoration of the Old Fire Station as an arts hub.

The developments have been brought about by an innovative partnership between the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust. The partnership has set up a new company Sunderland Culture to operate and develop the city’s cultural assets.

The company, which has secured £2m in funding from Arts Council England, works with local and national cultural organisations to improve the city’s cultural offer.

Cabinet member for culture Councillor John Kelly said: “To manage to secure all of the funding we need to reopen this fantastic facility is a major coup and a brilliant boost as we move into the final few weeks of the UK City of Culture competition.

“This cultural partnership is a powerful driver for positive change and we’re all very proud to be able to announce the new gallery space to the world. The centre is a huge asset to the city, and for it to be housed in one of the region’s foremost cultural venues, the National Glass Centre, really does demonstrate its significance in Sunderland.”

The NGCA has a proud history of identifying and exhibiting artists before they were famous. Sam Taylor Wood is one of a number of artists who had their breakthrough exhibitions in Sunderland.

Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, Keith Merrin, said: “The gallery has gone through a number of iterations in its 50-year history, most recently in the City Library. Late last year, the University of Sunderland announced it would find a new space for the gallery within its campus and they’ve worked tirelessly to find the perfect spot.

“Thanks to financial backing from Arts Council England, the University and the City Council, this brand new gallery space at the National Glass Centre, will provide a world-class showcase for contemporary art.”

The new gallery space is currently being worked on with a view to opening in Spring 2018.

Graeme Thompson, Chair of Sunderland Culture and Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sarah Maxfield to make this important announcement.

“The Arts Council’s support and significant investment in Sunderland’s cultural renaissance is a game-changer for the city. Sunderland’s significance in the world of contemporary art over the past 50 years is often overlooked, but this new space reaffirms our credentials and importance to the art world both in the UK and internationally.”

Sarah Maxfield, said: “I’m honoured to be in Sunderland to announce the new home for the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, which is such a significant cultural asset for the city.

“It is a very exciting time for Sunderland, with Sunderland Culture set to build on the thriving arts and culture scene that already exists and developing the city’s cultural potential with new capital projects and innovative cultural programmes. At the Arts Council, we’re delighted to invest in its plans and to be a partner in helping make its ambitions a reality.”

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