Although the iconic BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
dominates the horizon of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne’s alternative art scene, there are a handful of smaller institutions scattered throughout the city which are absolutely worth a visit. Home to cutting-edge art and ambitious projects, Newcastle’s reputation as a cultural hub is shaped largely by these thriving artistic centres, all of which are free to visit.
Art Gallery, Shop
Tucked away on a tiny street by the Tyne, Side Gallery is a key landmark on Newcastle’s cultural map. Founded in 1977, the gallery is committed to art as social documentary. Past exhibitions’ themes range from the Arab Spring, Polish ghettos in WWII, to the changing role of women in Iran. Talks are organized around most of the exhibitions, and they also house a small shop selling photography books, postcards, and affordable prints.
5-9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 0191 232 2208
Art Gallery, University
Part of Newcastle University, Hatton Gallery was founded in 1925 and has been at the heart of cultural life in the north-eastern part of England ever since. Attached to the Fine Art department of the University, the space has a thoroughly creative vibe. Their permanent collection includes work by Francis Bacon and Richard Hamilton, as well as Kurt Schwitters’ internationally acclaimed Elterwater Merzbarn, a must-see piece. There is also a shop selling artists’ materials, and a café where visitors can sip coffee alongside enrolled art students.
King’s Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 0191 222 6059
The NewBridge Project
Set in a disused office block at the heart of the city, The NewBridge Project consists of an exhibition space, a bookshop café and over 80 artists’ studios. The artist-led community focuses on exploring new approaches to art practice and nurturing a strong community feel, with regular free exhibitions of artists’ work, events, talks, screenings, and discussion groups. The bookshop is worth a special mention, as some of its stock will not be found elsewhere.
12 NewBridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 0191 232 8975
Dedicated to making contemporary art accessible, Globe Gallery is a not-for-profit organization with a focus on social issues. Globe Gallery exhibitions are often experimental and always innovative.
Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 0191 597 9278
Art Gallery, Cinema, Post Office
Although not strictly a gallery, a visit to North East England would not be complete without a trip to Tyneside Cinema. As well as screening cult classics and new releases, the cinema has a recently opened exhibition space called The Gallery, showcasing pieces by artists who use the medium of film in their work and blur the line between art and cinema in cutting-edge style. The Tyneside Bar Café is also worth a visit, complete with an evening programme of live music, movies, quiz and DJ nights.
10 – 12 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK 0191 227 5522