New £12 million Milton Keynes Gallery hailed an "architectural gem"

The long-awaited extension of MK Gallery is opening its doors to the public this weekend after being hailed “an architectural gem” by national media.

The giant rectangular steel-clad structure has cost £12m to build and meant most of the original gallery has been closed for 18 months,

MK Gallery

MK Gallery

But on Saturday all will be revealed with a day of free events and activities for local people.

This week, after national art critics were invited to a preview, the gallery was described as “a building that makes Milton Keynes exciting all over again” in the Telegraph.

The review added: “What will surprise visitors is all the interior colour – chocolate, magenta, lime, pink, egg yolk yellow, pillar box red – in the loos, up the stairs, everywhere, in fact...”

Designed by two artists in collaboration with London architects 6a, the extension includes five new exhibition galleries, a Sky Room auditorium, a community and learning studio and a café.

Celebrations on Saturday start at 11am with a ribbon cutting by the mayor of Milton Keynes and families from the Gallery’s learning programme.

People can tour the first exhibition, which is called Lie of the Land. And throughout the day there will be live dance and music performances, free badge making, face painting and bag printing, as well as a limited giveaway of MK Gallery goody bags.

There will be badge making, bag printing and face painting in the Learning Studio, and Pagrav dance in the Sky Room.

At 2.30pm a street performance of ‘Pockets of Resistance’ will take place in Margaret Powell Square, followed by a tea party in the new café. The day will finish will live music.

Much of the gallery extension costs have been met by grants from the Arts Council, Milton Keynes Council, SEMLEP, arts trusts and businesses. MK Council also gives an annual grant of around £250,000.

For more details visit www.mkgallery.org.