ONE of the region’s biggest contemporary art galleries is offering families a £50 incentive to visit.

Middlesbrough’s £19m Institute of Modern Art (mima) is giving away £50 shopping vouchers to families with children aged four to 11 who have never visited the gallery before. In return, the families must attend a discussion session to give feedback on their experience.

Another discussion session will centre on the gallery’s desire to connect with local residents.

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A £25 voucher is also being offered to those interested in Middlesbrough’s history and artistic background in return for their feedback on plans to connect the gallery more with the town’s cultural heritage.

The discussion sessions, part of an audience development project, will be run by a marketing company on behalf of mima and aim to find out more about what local people want from a visit to the gallery.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said that the offer of up to £50 to take part in the discussions represented “a small incentive for giving up time” and that the vouchers would have to be spent within Middlesbrough town centre.

He added: “This approach is standard market research practice and is an efficient and cost-effective way of ensuring exhibitions and other services best meet local needs and expectations.”

The gallery’s director, Kate Brindley, said that the project was being wholly funded by the Arts Council and would allow local people to engage better with mima.

Parents looking to share their views on mima should visit the gallery for the first time with their children between now and Saturday December 8 and complete a questionnaire.

An informal meeting with other parents – but without children – will then be held on December 8. On the same day, people interested in local cultural heritage are asked to meet for a discussion at mima. Refreshments will be available and all travel and parking expenses will be covered by mima.

For more information, or to participate, contact with your name, postcode, whether you have ever visited mima and whether you are representing a family or someone interested in local culture.