In pursuit of its goal to enhance art gallery accessibility in the North-East, The Auckland Project is collaborating with the National Portrait Gallery to organize a special event featuring prominent industry experts.

Taking place in the Spanish Gallery, Bishop Auckland, on Friday 10th November at 6pm, In Conversation with Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA and Dr Nicholas Cullinan sees the leading British artist discuss his artistic practice with the director of the National Portrait Gallery. The conversation will focus on colour, starting with the artist’s interest in Spanish polychrome sculpture.

With tickets available for the in-person experience at £15, The Auckland Project also plans to live-stream for free at 6pm.

A contemporary artist and painter, Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA is famed for his conceptual artwork including An Oak Tree. He has taught and lectured across the country at leading institutions and is a proud supporter of Young British Artists. His work is exhibited in museums around the world including Tate London, Victoria and Albert Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Art historian and curator, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, has been the National Portrait Gallery’s Director since 2015, most recently overseeing the Gallery’s largest transformation since its building opened in 1896.

The Spanish Gallery Bishop Auckland part of The Auckland Project
Paintings in a room entitled _Eternal Devotion_, a double-height gallery in the Spanish Gallery at The Auckland Project. Credit House of Hues

Clare Baron, Head of Exhibitions and Interpretation at The Auckland Project said: “We’re honoured to be hosting the In Conversation event this November. Part of this gallery’s mission is to raise the international profile of Bishop Auckland and showcase how accessible art can be to communities.

“Many visitors who are interested in art, culture and heritage often express their desire for even more events that bring unique speakers to the area, and we hope that the conversations raised by Dr Nicholas and Sir Michael will resonate with the audience.”

The Spanish Gallery is the only gallery in the UK dedicated to the art, history and culture of the Spanish Golden Age. It introduces visitors from the North-East and beyond to the art, history and culture of Spain by immersing them in the majesty of its art, with masterpieces by renowned artists such as El Greco, Zurbarán and Murillo.

The tickets for the in-person event also include a private viewing of the Spanish Gallery from 4pm – 6pm and a welcome drink.

Edward Perry, CEO of The Auckland Project, added: “At the heart of our work is a desire to share Bishop Auckland’s rich history and heritage with visitors from all over the world. But it’s also our mission to bring well-known artists, speakers and performers into the heart of Bishop Auckland, giving our community opportunities that would usually only exist in bigger cities.”

To book tickets for In Conversation with Sir Michael Craig-Martin RA and Dr Nicholas Cullinan, please visit the website:,.

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