I love this. The (outgoing) Director of Middlesborough Institute of Art – aka MIMA –set up a free community meal in the gallery every Thursday as part of regular community days, which include workshops for adults and children.
Writing in the Museums Journal, Andrew Barnett of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation described Alistair Hudson’s approach as moving MIMA to being a ‘Version 3.0’ museum, one that emphasises ‘co-production and everyday creativity in their community’ and ‘the individual non-professional as an artist or curator’.
Alistair himself also says ‘why not make your public programmes more important than your exhibitions, and why not make sure that education doesn’t sit separately to curation?’ MIMA’s community meals bring in a diversity of Middleborough folk, including refugees, homeless people and a range of ages.
Having seen The Jungle at the Young Vic last night, I laud any provision that helps the homeless and refugees feel welcomed into society.
On a different scale and style – though perhaps with as great a range of nationalities represented – in the wonderful café at our local October Gallery at lunchtimes, you can find tables full of people all eating a delicious meal together at shared tables, beneath the artwork of the current exhibition there.