The National Partners Programme was launched in 2016 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection by creating a network of regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from the Arts Council Collection.
As part of the second round of the programme running from 2019-2022, Sunderland Culture was chosen as one of three regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from Arts Council Collection. The other partners are Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, and Firstsite in Essex.
Funded by the National Lottery, the programme aims to build a deeper relationship with regional audiences by building a UK-wide network across regional partners, connecting local visitors to their national collection.
The Arts Council Collection is the most widely circulated national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world. Founded in 1946, the Collection reaches the broadest possible audience through long loans to public institutions, exhibition loans and touring exhibitions, as well as digital and print publications. It can be seen in exhibitions in museums and galleries across the UK and includes important works by all of the UK’s most prominent artists. The Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England and is based at the Southbank Centre. The Collection also has a centre for sculpture at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
There are now over 8,000 works in the Collection, including paintings, sculpture, original works on paper, prints and moving image. The Collection supports artists in the UK through the purchase and display.