Canterbury Museums and Galleries embark on exciting new commissions to represent local community heroes

Canterbury’s Museums and Galleries service are commissioning three new portraits to celebrate the district’s diverse population. This is the beginning of the museum’s long term ambition to ensure that the City’s collection represents the talent and strength of our local community. 

The Beaney will be developing an exhibition in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery around the theme of representation that combines works from the collections of both organisations. This will form part of the celebrations to mark 10 years since The Beaney reopened following its extensive redevelopment. Museums & Cultural Programme Director, Michelle Moubarak said “This is a really important part of our commitment to making sure everybody feels welcome and represented at the museum. To do this we want to work with the public by asking you to nominate people you think have made significant contributions to our district and deserve to be remembered as part of our communities’ history.”

Nominations for portrait sitters open on Friday 14 January and details on how to nominate can be found at canterburymuseums/participate

This project is also an opportunity to celebrate new creative talent and will include offering three artist mentoring positions to work with celebrated artist Sarah Spencer to create the new portraits, which will be accessioned into the Museum’s Collection. To apply for an artist opportunity, details can be found at canterburymuseums/participate.

The National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s Inspiring People project, which includes an extensive programme of nationwide activities, funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund. These ambitious partnerships with museums, local community groups and schools aim to bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK. Find out more at

The Mirror Mirror exhibition will run at The Beaney from Saturday 19 November 2022 to Sunday 29 January 2023. Admission is free, with donations encouraged.

Sarah Spencer Biography

Sarah Spencer studied painting at Camberwell School of Art and gained a Scholarship from The Arts Club for postgraduate study at the Royal Academy Painting Schools.

Her work is held in public and private collections at home and abroad. She was elected as a member of the New English Art Club in 2005 and became its vice president in 2018.

She has received major national and international awards for her work and has exhibited with the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award, the Royal Academy, Royal Society of Portrait Painters and is a regular exhibitor at the Mall Galleries and galleries across the UK. In 2013 she was awarded the Painter-Stainer prize, and in 2011 was selected for inclusion as “one of ‘Britain’s most eminent contemporary figurative artists” in the ‘Pure Gold’ exhibition celebrating the Federation of British Artists’ 50th anniversary.

Sarah lives and works in Whitstable with artist partner Andrew Malone.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to encourage, through portraiture, the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made, and are making, British history and culture. Today it promotes engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide-ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits.

National Skills Sharing Partnership        

Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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