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Open Art

A healthy, happy, sustainable future for Dulwich Picture Gallery 

A series of enhancements and new developments across Dulwich Picture Gallery’s site will fully integrate the gardens, transforming three acres of green space into a sculpture garden with a difference and securing this much loved and internationally renowned destination for future generations.  

Despite being over 200 years old, Dulwich Picture Gallery has always sought to innovate and respond to changing times. From Sir John Soane’s cutting-edge designs for the first purpose-built art gallery in 1811, to the sympathetic new extension added in 2000, the charity has always sought to ensure it remains true to its founders’ vision: that great art be made accessible to the widest audience.   

The Gallery is working with leading architect practice Carmody Groarke and renowned landscape artist, Kim Wilkie to realise this next phase in the Gallery’s journey. “Open Art” is comprised of connected elements that will make the most of the entire extent of the site, enhancing previously underused areas and the experience for all visitors.  

Enhancing Our Outdoor Spaces

The Lovington Sculpture Meadow

Proposed view looking south towards The Lovington Sculpture Meadow 

The transformation

The currently under-utilised southern portion of the site will be transformed into ‘The Lovington Sculpture Meadow’, a land artwork designed by leading landscape artist Kim Wilkie. Visitors will discover emerging UK talent nestled within a distinctive land art form and ‘art forest’ of over 150 new trees. This outdoor exhibition space will celebrate the environmental benefits of using green space to display art. 


The significant addition of trees, soft landscaping and perimeter hedges will make a positive contribution to habitat creation, enhance biodiversity and sequester carbon.  

Ground Source Heat Network 

Our plans include a new ground source heat network to reduce our energy consumption and safeguard Dulwich Picture Gallery, our collection and our grounds for future generations. A series of boreholes will be installed and concealed beneath the gardens to power the ground source heat network.

A sculpture garden with a difference

The gardens will host a series of permanent and temporary artworks. Sculptures will be interactive and will sit alongside the Gallery’s existing works, Walking the Dog by Peter Randall-Page and Bronze Oak Grove by Rob and Nick Carter. The latter has been on loan to the Gallery for the past two years and is much-loved by our visitors as an engaging contemporary piece that references the art of the past. We aim to acquire this sculpture for the Collection as part of this project. 

A much-needed space for schools and families

Proposed view from Gallery Gardens looking towards Children’s Picture Gallery (left), Gallery Cottage (right) and Dulwich Picture Gallery (far right) 

Designed by renowned and established architects Carmody Groarke, a modest extension to the Gallery’s cottage and new building to the south, will include a space for art-based family learning experiences, a café and shop, and a school groups lunchroom.  

A new children’s picture gallery has been designed as a welcoming family-focused art play space with views of the surrounding garden.  Art-focused play is hugely beneficial for children’s development. The new space will offer 45-minute parent/carer-led sessions for under-8s. The play activities will be Early years foundation stage (EYFS) focused, encouraging creative expression and a fun way-in to Old Master paintings. 

Our existing gallery cottage will be re-purposed for public use as a School lunchroom. Outside of school visits the Gallery Cottage will be open for the public to enjoy as a new family café. The Gallery Cottage is a Grade II listed, 19th century building built in conjunction with the main Picture Gallery. The proposals include a modest extension on its rear elevation to create a new welcoming public entrance which provides step-free access to the existing building.

Project status 

We received planning permission for this innovative transformation of our site in July 2023. This is the biggest redevelopment we’ve undertaken in over 20 years and will maximise the Gallery’s unique potential - its building, art, gardens, people and location - for future generations.

Funding and how you can support 

It will cost £4.9m to achieve our vision and we are currently actively fundraising for this project, and any donation, large or small, will help us.

Donate to Open Art

or email to find out more about sponsorship opportunities and how your support can make a lasting impact.

Community updates 

The Gallery is particularly keen to hear from its local community and neighbours. We will be sharing progress throughout development. The initial public consultation was held on 21 March 2023. For any feedback on the project please fill in our questionnaire below, or email 

Designs and Feedback 

We welcome feedback on the latest plans and designs, your interest in Open Art, and the benefits you see the plans providing. You can complete a short survey here. All feedback is treated anonymously.  

Complete the Open Art survey