The National Portrait Gallery
will host a Gala event on Tuesday 3 March to raise funds for its Education programme. Artists such as Stuart Pearson Wright, Humphrey Ocean, David Mach and supporters such as Joanna Trollope, Jane Asher, Bruce Oldfield, Sebastian Faulks and Sadie Coles will attend the Portrait Gala.
Funds raised by the Gala will enable the Gallery to bring to life the remarkable stories of achievement that provide inspiration to learners of all ages. By working directly with artists and educators the aim is to expand the stimulating learning experiences in the Gallery and, through outreach in the community, to meet a wide range of interests, abilities and ages.
Gala guests will be able to bid in a live auction led by Sotheby's for auction lots which include an opportunity to have their photograph taken by David Bailey, their portrait created by Julian Opie, a head-and-shoulders painting of them by Jonathan Yeo or help curate the annual BP Portrait Award in 2010.
Joanna Trollope, Seamus Heaney, Alexander McCall Smith, Sebastian Faulks, Robert Harris and Andrew Motion are among those who have created 'Pen Portraits', hand-written, unique, and especially created for the Portrait Gala. Each Pen Portrait is offered at £500.
The Mystery Portrait Postcards proved to be such a success at the Gallery's 150th Anniversary Gala in 2006 that once again we have asked a number of artists, sitters and prominent individuals to contribute to a special display of postcards that will be seen for the first time on the night of the Gala. Each card is on sale at £200 on a first-come, first-served basis.
A Giving Tree will offer guests the chance to win one of 200 luxury prizes worth £100, £500 or £1000. These include a Cartier watch, a canvas print of Stephen Fry by Tony Davis, a Bruce Oldfield clothing voucher, a hat by Philip Treacy, a Champagne capsule for 10 people on The London Eye, a £100 gift voucher and limited edition of Vanity Fair Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images signed by Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair. Other items include a bottle of sherry signed by the late poet Ted Hughes and a series 1 e-type for a weekend.
Guests will also have an opportunity see the Gallery's two Spring exhibitions Gerhard Richter Portraits and Constable Portraits: The Painter and his Circle.
The Gallery's Education Programme is the central focus of the Portrait Gala and the cause for which the Gallery needs to raise additional funds. Over 40 years ago the Gallery created one of the very first Education Departments in a national museum, offering special visits for school classes and college students and beginning to create a programme of activities for visitors to the Gallery's Collection.
The Education programme has developed substantially and the Gallery now welcomes over 70,000 school and college students each year, and creates activities for families at weekends and in the holidays, and for young people and for those in hospital schools (linked through video-conferencing) who cannot visit the Gallery themselves. As well as developing access to the Gallery, we have extended our outreach work around the country, through special projects with particular communities and as part of the national programme.
Joanna Trollope, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Portrait Gala 2009, says: "This Gala is in aid of a cause close to my heart. If learning can be defined as the active engagement with experience, then what richer experience could there be than engaging with the people who delivered our present cultural and philosophical landscape to us? The programmes range from targeting schools and the young, through families, adults, ethnic groups and the elderly, to charities and community groups. The aim is inclusion, and I support it wholeheartedly."
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: "I am hugely grateful to all the artists, writers and supporters who are making the Gala possible - this is for the future life of the Gallery."
The Gala's main sponsors are Laurent-Perrier Champagne (champagne), Robert Mondavi (Wine), The English Group (Design), Emtone Printing Services Limited (Print) and Howard Smith Paper Group (Paper). Other suppliers who have made the event possible are auctioneers Sotheby's, caterers Alison Price, florists Scarlet and Violet, Fantasy Imaging and Prelude Entertainment for entertainment provision and Fisher for event production.