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Sudbury: Gainsborough’s House benefits from exciting new initiatives

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 September 2014

Gainsborough's House preview of the coming season. Left to right, director Mark Bills and Sue Starling (marketing).

Gainsborough's House preview of the coming season. Left to right, director Mark Bills and Sue Starling (marketing).

A number of exciting initiatives designed to attract visitors to the birthplace of Suffolk’s most famous artist are already paying dividends.

Gainsborough’s House, in Sudbury, has been transformed into a vibrant centre for the arts, with bold expansion plans on the horizon.

Constantly changing exhibitions, loans of artworks from top national galleries and a revamp of the museum’s layout have seen visitor numbers increase by more than 20% in the past year.

The newly refitted Gainsborough’s House shop, which re-opened in July, has already become a hit with visitors and locals.

And with more collaborations planned involving musicians, art groups and local museums, along with a planned capital works programme to extend the building, the future of Gainsborough’s House looks bright.

According to director, Mark Bills, previously the maximum number of people who would visit the museum in a year was 19,000. But since August 2013, around 23,000 visitors walked through the doors of Gainsborough’s House.

Over the next two years, an area next door to the famous house will be used to extend the building and create a space big enough to house large scale exhibitions. In addition, there will be a selling gallery for work from the facility’s print workshop and a tearoom.

Mr Bills said: “It’s important that we up our takings because it’s about being sustainable for the future. We want to create somewhere where people can come and spend a day and have lunch. By introducing the different displays, we are also hoping to encourage people to come back to the gallery again and again.”

To help boost funds, Gainsborough’s House has just started a scheme where people can ‘adopt’ a painting by funding conservation work.

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