We may have been pipped at the post for City of Culture but the transformation of Sunderland through arts and culture continues. We are still determined to build on the momentum that the bid created and raise the bar of the city’s cultural ambitions.

Friday 23rd March 2018 was an historic day for Sunderland and a pivotal one for the city’s cultural sector as we unveiled the next chapter of Sunderland’s cultural transformation and launched the cultural programme Twenty Four Seven.

Twenty Four Seven is an ambitious seven-year, £60m project that will take the city up to 2024. It will improve the city’s cultural profile and reputation, strengthen the city’s creative economy and increase the number of Wearsiders taking part in arts and culture. It has been built from the excitement, drive and imagination of everybody who took part in the City of Culture consultations and will incorporate the bid’s themes of Light, Friendship and Inventiveness. It will deliver much of what was in our bid plan.

The announcement came on the same day as Sunderland Culture officially re-opened the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in its new 3,000sq ft space within National Glass Centre.The new gallery has been created with the support of University of Sunderland, Arts Council England and Sunderland City Council, and in its first 18 months it will celebrate British artists whose work has been created on continental Europe, bringing new audiences to contemporary art.

For the first exhibition, Fiona Crisp has been working with the Laboratori Nazionale del Gran Sasso in Italy to investigate the way in which we imagine the frontiers of fundamental science

Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, said: “There’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in the arts on Wearside. Sunderland Culture recently secured £1.25m from the Great Place Scheme, and days ago we were awarded £745,000 in Arts Council England’s final round of Ambition for Excellence funding. This grant will deliver Believe in Me: Cathedrals to Creative Cities, a world-class visual arts project that will celebrate Wearside and unite the two cities of Durham and Sunderland.”

At the same time as Crisp’s Material Sight exhibition opened the NGCA, another new exhibition opened in the National Glass Centre’s main gallery. Young Artists is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Gallery, Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, presenting the finest examples of work by international, early career artists working in glass. Both exhibitions are free to the public.

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