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Blog Post: MK Gallery officially opens its doors

11 March 2019

MK Gallery MK Gallery. Photo: Iwan Baan

This week sees the official opening of Milton Keynes Gallery, although many residents like me have eagerly watched its extension and reconstruction over the last 2 years. The collective ‘wow’ when that stunning new main gallery window, overlooking Campbell Park, was defrocked of its scaffolding rippled palpably around the city centre and out into the neighbouring grid squares.


It is beautiful architecturally, it is iconic artistically; and it makes a bold statement about how and why this is an art gallery for all - a window on to the creative soul of all of us who live, work or visit Milton Keynes. 


This idea, that art is not sacrosanct but should be enjoyed by all of us as part of normal everyday life, is not just reminiscent of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus movement with which MK Gallery’s original design resonates; it was also at the heart of the founding artistic vision for Milton Keynes.  This is why you casually encounter an Elisabeth Frink sculpture when you pop into your city centre bank! All around the city, you find art of astonishing quality and beauty. Milton Keynes has more major art works integrated into its basic fabric than any other city in the UK.  


So, MK Gallery’s Director Anthony Spira, architects 6a, and Milton Keynes civic leaders are to be congratulated for staying true to the city’s pioneering and democratic spirit and creating a new MK Gallery for all.


The opening of MK Gallery is important to me for two reasons - professional and personal. 


On a professional level, as Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (2011-February 2019), together with SEMLEP’s CEO Hilary Chipping. I was pleased to see the gallery’s success in securing government funding, through SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund capital investment programme. Putting tax payer’s money to good use to leverage other sources of funding to create such a magnificent example of cultural and artistic value gives me great satisfaction!


MK Gallery has also provided me with an opportunity to begin to build my own artistic and skills legacy in Milton Keynes, the place I have been proud to call my home since 1986 and where I plan to see out my days.  My first step on this philanthropic journey is the creation of the Limb Family Foyer at MK Gallery. I am pleased to have supported the gallery redevelopment with a personal donation in recognition of the vital role played by my mother (Gerry Limb 1925-2001) in my love of art and culture. My mother, a Northern working class ‘amateur’ art collector, first took me into Manchester Art Gallery when I was about 6 years old, thereby nurturing in me a lifelong love of visual arts. I wish this experience for every child and every family and I know the new MK Gallery provides a spectacular venue for this to occur.


Dr Ann Limb CBE DL 

Former Chair of South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership

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