2020: Building UK culture at home as art treasures fly abroad

Visual of exterior of proposed 'art depot' at Rotterdam's Museum Boijimans van Beuningen (MVRDV / Design Boom)

This year sees The National Gallery London in partnership with The Yomiuri Shimbun - one of the largest media organisations in Japan - presenting an unprecedented loan of outstanding works in an exhibition to coincide with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 'Masterpieces from the National Gallery London' will be hosted at the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo and its equivalent in Osaka.

Vincent van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' will be a major highlight and will be seen in Japan for the first time. The National Gallery London hopes to extend its international reputation through the project and build new audiences. Jeremy Wright, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport stated that this is an opportunity to 'promote the very best of Britain to the globe'.

What of the loss of some of the most viewed and loved paintings, which will be gone from the UK for a year? The Art Newspaper reports that a spokesman from the National Gallery London has stated that fees from the touring show - which has now been extended to Australia - will be partly used for other touring exhibitions throughout the UK, sharing art with 'home' audiences that would otherwise not get the chance to see them.

Meanwhile in the UK, Martin Green, who ran Hull UK City of Culture in 2017, is preparing his team to produce the £120 million four nations Post - Brexit Cultural Festival. The 2022 Festival of the UK will be centred in Birmingham and will give a boost to the development of the UK's creative industries. Although no firm plans have yet been announced on the detail, it is viewed as important for economic prosperity.

At Future Cities Forum in Liverpool last February the Head of Culture Liverpool Claire McColgan was asked 'Can you overdose on festivals?'