While its arts scene is often overlooked in favour of bigger cities, Newcastle upon Tyne is actually home to a thriving community of galleries from the bigger arts sector-funded names like the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art to smaller, independent galleries like The Outsiders and System Gallery.
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Founded in 2002 as a means of raising the profile of contemporary visual art in the North East region, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art today is one of northern England’s premier galleries enjoying privileges such as hosting the 2011 Turner Prize exhibition. Located in a beautifully renovated former flour mill, the BALTIC includes four gallery spaces and though its lacks a permanent collection, it is host to regularly changing exhibitions and since its opening, has worked with over 300 artists from across the globe. Past notable exhibitions have included works by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren, Danish video artist Jesper Just and British performance and installation artist, Marcus Coates.
The Biscuit Factory
Boasting the privilege of being the biggest commercial art, craft and design gallery in the UK, The Biscuit Factory opened in 2002 in a wonderfully converted former Victorian warehouse in Newcastle’s cultural hotspot, Ouseburn Valley. Spread over two floors, The Biscuit Factory presents contemporary art, prints, jewellery and other quality handcrafted works hosting four major exhibitions each year and representing up to 250 artists each season. Current artworks represented at The Biscuit Factory include the stunning landscape photography of Newcastle-based Dan Bolam, the bronze Botero-esque sculpture of Virginia Day and the colourfully painted cityscapes of Lancashire-born painter Chris Cyprus.
Established in 1997, Vane started out as an umbrella organisation working to promote contemporary art in the region via high profile events before going on to open its own permanent gallery space in 2005. Overseen by directors Paul Stone and Christopher Yeats, the gallery represents a roster of artists from Britain and further afield – which includes talents like Icelandic performance artist Dogga Maggý, whose work explores the emotional relationship between video and music, and Scottish artist Jock Mooney and his eccentric sculptures and paintings – and also works in collaboration with partner galleries to exhibit the works of invited guest artists.
A Newcastle-based champion of the art of contemporary printmaking, Northern Print is a gallery and studio located in arty Ouseburn Valley, hosting an on-going programme of exhibitions alongside educational workshops and technical courses in printmaking. Each year, Northern Prints hosts a popular themed exhibition of affordable prints that showcases the works of its studio artists which is complemented by solo exhibitions by the likes of Durham-based artist Anja Percival, who creates landscape-based prints. Northern Print is also the organiser of the International Print Biennale, an event showcasing the very best in contemporary British and international printmaking that takes place every two years.
Northern Print, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, +44 0191 261 7000
The Side Gallery was established in 1977 and is overseen by Amber, a local film and photography collective, the Side Gallery was born from an appreciation for humanist documentary photography and the importance of such an art form to the marginalised, working-class communities in the North East at that time. Over its nigh-on 40 year history, the gallery has exhibited works by masters of modern documentary photography including Czech artist Josef Koudelka and Japan’s Takashi Hamaguchi alongside more contemporary talents like German photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer.
Side Gallery, 5 – 9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, +44 0191 232 2208
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