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National Gallery receives major donation for new Education Centre

Issued November 2010

The National Gallery is delighted to announce that a transformational gift of £1 million has been made by American industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott OBE towards the refurbishment of the National Gallery’s Education Centre and to improve its teaching facilities.

Dr Nicholas Penny, National Gallery Director, said:

“Education and public engagement have always been central to the Gallery’s mission. We have a long tradition of offering people opportunities to discover, explore and learn about the collection, whatever their age or level of understanding.

"Our education programme is one of the largest in Europe, with over 80,000 school pupils on facilitated visits per year, 3,300 teachers on courses and 80,300 adults participating in our talks and tours. We are delighted to announce the renaming of the Education Centre as the Pigott Education Centre and would like to thank Mr Pigott for this generous gift.”

The donation will assist the National Gallery to build on its aim of providing a positive and welcoming experience for schools and general visitors, as well as inspiring learning throughout the environment.

Mr Pigott is chairman and chief executive officer of PACCAR Inc, a Fortune 150 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington. The Pigott family and PACCAR have generously supported UK organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Library, the Palace of Westminster, the National Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Mr Pigott shared:

“I believe that reinforcing the link between learning and the arts provides a welcoming bridge that benefits our communities. It is encouraging that the National Gallery will be able to enrich the breadth of educational programming being provided to patrons of all ages.

"The establishment of the Pigott Education Centre will ensure the National Gallery remains a leader in arts education in the UK and in the broader art world.”

The gift will contribute towards the operation of the Education Centre and enhances the National Gallery’s outstanding reputation as a leader in the arts education field. The Gallery is committed to providing a welcoming environment to promote learning, engagement, creativity and interaction for all its visitors.

Immediate refurbishment plans involve renovating the space and enhancing the Centre through the installation of new furniture, interactive technology and display facilities, which will heighten the visitor experience in the National Gallery.

For press information please contact the National Gallery Press Office: 0207 747 2865.

Notes to Editors

PACCAR ( purchased British Leyland commercial vehicles in 1998 and has grown the company to be the UK market truck leader under the DAF brand. Mr Pigott’s leadership in business, education and the arts has been recognised by many countries and organisations, including: Cambridge University (Guild of Benefactors), Officer of the British Empire (OBE) (UK), Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium), Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau (Netherlands), Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Hungary) and the National Medal of Technology (USA).

Education at the National Gallery

Founded by Parliament in 1824, the National Gallery houses the nation’s collection of Western European paintings from the late 13th to the early 20th century.

The collection belongs to the nation and serves a diverse public from the UK and overseas. It is open to all, 361 days of the year, free of charge. Between 4 and 5 million people visit the National Gallery each year. Almost all of the 2,300 paintings in the National Gallery’s collection are on permanent display.

The collection represents the greatest Western European painters including van Eyck, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Rembrandt, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Rubens, Velázquez, Van Dyck, Titian and Bellini.

The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. The Education Department was established 30 years ago and its programmes are designed to show how the National Gallery’s collection has the potential for inspiring individual creativity.