£60million vision to transform Sunderland into a cultural capital set to be launched

editorial image

A new £60million plan to turn Sunderland into a cultural capital will be launched this week.

Called 'Sunderland Twenty Four Seven', the seven-year project will aim to increase the number of people involved in arts and culture between now and 2024.

It will be officially unveiled on Friday to coincide with the re-opening of the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in a new 3,000sq ft space at National Glass Centre.

It comes on the back of the positive response to Sunderland's City of Culture bid, which although beaten to the 2021 prize by Coventry, received favourable backing across Wearside.

Keith Merrin - Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, the new company set up to lead cultural events and venues in the city - said: "Friday will be a historic day for Sunderland and a pivotal one for the city’s cultural sector.

"The launch of Sunderland Twenty Four Seven, an inspired but deliverable seven-year programme of cultural activity that will take us to 2024, will confirm the city’s ambition and intent.

"We already have £40m of the £60m needed to deliver Twenty Four Seven in the pipeline and we’re very confident of raising the remaining £20m. Building on the excitement, drive and imagination of our City of Culture bid, Twenty Four Seven will deliver much of what was in our bid plan.

"It will incorporate the bid’s themes of Light, Friendship and Inventiveness and will help add to the growing sense of cultural confidence in the city, particularly among young people.

"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 unite the two cities of Durham and Sunderland.

"And on Friday, as well as launching Twenty Four Seven, we’ll be officially reopening the NGCA at National Glass Centre.”

A major exhibition, Material Sight, from award-winning artist Fiona Crisp, will be the gallery’s opening exhibition.

At the same time, another new international exhibition will open in the National Glass Centre’s main gallery.

Young Glass, an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Gallery, Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, presents the finest examples of work by international, early career artists working in

glass.