A NEW curatorial director has been appointed at The Auckland Project – and he is already well known in the region.

Adrian Jenkins takes the post following two successful decades as director and CEO at The Bowes Museum.

During his tenure at the Barnard Castle museum, Mr Jenkins presided over major refurbishments and raised its national and international reputation through high-profile exhibitions – including Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal in 2015 - and loans from its extensive collections.

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He said: “Earlier this year, I decided to move on from what had been an incredibly fulfilling 20 years at The Bowes Museum, and when the opportunity arose for me to take up a role at The Auckland Project, I couldn’t say no.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with colleagues to develop a dynamic exhibition programme across The Auckland Project’s wonderful collection of venues and spaces to excite and engage the widest possible audience.”

His appointment comes ahead of October 15 opening of The Spanish Gallery – the latest destination in the charity's plan to revitalise the market town of Bishop Auckland through art, faith and heritage in and around Auckland Castle.

Founded by Jonathan Ruffer in 2012, The Auckland Project has grown into a multi-faceted visitor destination.

Mr Jenkins is responsible for the curatorial programme at all The Auckland Project's galleries and exhibition spaces including the Mining Art Gallery, The Bishop Trevor Gallery, Faith Museum, Deer Park, Walled Garden, Auckland Tower and The Spanish Gallery.

The Spanish Gallery will open to the public on October 15, becoming the first gallery in the UK dedicated entirely to the art, history and culture of Spain.

He said: “Having known and worked with Jonathan and his wife Jane over many years, it’s a real privilege to be coming on board at The Auckland Project at such an exciting time.

“The upcoming opening of The Spanish Gallery is an important and extraordinary milestone in The Auckland Project’s story.

"It’s really quite remarkable what has been achieved.”

Situated in the marketplace, The Spanish Gallery focuses on art of the Spanish Golden Age during the 16th and 17th centuries, conceived to contextualise a series of paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán which has hung in Auckland Castle for over 250 years.

Adrian, who officially took up his new post on October 4, added: “It’s really wonderful to see the ambition Jonathan articulated to me all those years ago coming to fruition and it will be fantastic to see the doors open in just a few weeks.”

Speaking of Mr Jenkin's appointment, Jonathan Ruffer said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Adrian as our new Curatorial Director.

"He has been a real friend to The Auckland Project – and to myself and Jane over the years - and we have very much appreciated his support and extensive experience and knowledge.

“He will be a fantastic asset to the leadership team as we embark on the next chapter of our exciting journey.”

For more information on The Auckland Project, visit aucklandproject.org


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