7 Top Art Venues in the North East

It’s fair to say the North East’s creative reputation is ever growing; we’re surrounded by local artists, art colleges and universities, galleries, fairs, renovations, new creative brands and businesses and so much more, and we don’t shout about it enough! As we’ve had new students joining us this term from all over the country, we wanted to round up a few of our top galleries in the North East.


The Baltic Centre, Gateshead

The Baltic Centre is pretty much the Newcastle HQ for art, having welcomed over 6 million guests since opening in July 2002 and is officially the UK’s biggest dedicated contemporary art institution. Situated on the river bank of the Tyne, the Baltic has an international reputation for its cutting-edge quirky installations and exhibitions with lots of interactive and tactile activities. On the 21st October, the Baltic is premiering Amanda Beech’s 2016 film Covenant Transport Move or Die. The film delivers a mix of analogue-style pop and video game aesthetics, a must-see for sure!

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead NE8 3BA


Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum is renowned for its partnership with the V&A museum in London, having brought the most distinguished exhibitions up to the North East. As well as showcasing outstanding presentations such as the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition and Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, it also displays classic work from artists such as El Greco, Canaletto, Francois Boucher, Claudio Coello and more. The purpose built historic gallery was opened in 1892 and was as busy then as it is today. An amazing gallery which should most definitely be on the list of ‘to-dos’, and Bowes making bridges between the most prestigious gallery in London and the North East is more than something we can get on board with. Make sure you check out the incredible ‘Shoes: Pleasure and Pain’ exhibition which is running until the 9th October.

Bowes Museum, Newgate, Barnard Castle DL12 8NP

Bowes Museum Exhibition

The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Biscuit Factory is a MUST-SEE, although not an actual hob-nob/custard cream/Oreo factory (other biscuits are also yum/available), it is the largest independent contemporary art, craft & design gallery set in a former Victorian warehouse. Displays of beautiful fine art, sculpture, prints, jewellery, quality craftsmanship and design led homewares are all free to view! Currently The Biscuit Factory is presenting the Small Print International which includes work from 90 artists from 18 countries with over 150 intricate prints of 100 square metres or less. The showcase features many different processes in print work, including linocuts, etchings, screen prints and lithographs! A must-see for any art enthusiast for sure.

The Biscuit Factory, 16 Stoddart Street, Shieldfield, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1AN


The Laing Gallery

The Laing Gallery is Newcastle’s hidden gem. The grade II listed gallery was founded in 1901 by Alexander Laing. Today The Laing features an extensive collection of British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware and holds regular different exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art and also artist and curator talks. Currently the gallery has delved into the world of Lewis Carrol with their Alice in Wonderland exhibition which is running until 2nd October, featuring different ways in which illustrators, artists, filmmakers, designers and more have been inspired and influenced by the 150-year-old story of when Alice fell down the rabbit hole. The work of Salvador Dali, Mervyn Peake, Peter Blake, Ralph Steadman and lots more is on display. Make sure you head on over to the Laing to check out this amazing exhibition!

Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AG


Hartlepool Art Gallery, Hartlepool

Set in a restored Victorian Church, this beautiful gallery exudes history and elegance; and right on the door step of our CCAD Hartlepool campus! Built in 1858 and opened as the Hartlepool Art Gallery in 1996, it exhibits a range of in-house curated showcases and also open artist proposals and partnership exhibitions. ‘Contemporary Icons’ by artist Nicola Wiltshire is next in line to be shown; inspired by visiting Greek Orthodox churches on the island of Aegina, these paintings have religious elements combined with that of fashion photography, symbology and the repetitive patterns seen in Islamic Art. Whilst you’re checking out Nicola’s work, make sure to visit the Viewing Tower in the church, where you can see the workings of the clock and can climb the stone tower for the best view in Hartlepool where you can see for miles, right to the sea. Wow-o-wow!

Hartlepool Art Gallery, Church Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7EQ


Platform-A Gallery, Middlesbrough

Platform A is dedicated to contemporary arts developments. Founded in 2008, by CCAD Fine Art lecturer Tony Charles, the gallery represents a group of emerging and established artists of the north east who currently work in the office/ business space of the gallery. Being situated in the centre of Middlesbrough on Platform One of the train station, the gallery has a constant stream of visitors. Currently Phil Illingworth’s Apocalypso is exhibited until 3rd November. Phil’s “experimental” work encompasses the fields of painting, drawing, 3D works and more.

Platform-A Gallery, Middlesbrough Railway Station, Zetland Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 1EG


House of Blah Blah, Middlesbrough

Arguably one of Middlesbrough’s coolest art venues, the House of Blah Blah attracts young creatives from all over the north east. With the focus on contemporary art, young and up-and-coming artists are always a hit in Blah Blah as well as some of the big names too. Regularly hosting some of the towns biggest nights, this gallery come nightclub/bar is definitely one to visit and has the coolest interior going. Coming up, the House of Blah Blah is hosting Sunday Girl Magazine’s issue 3 Launch Party on the 9th October from 7pm. The launch will be bustling with likeminded youthful creatives as well as industry folks too, so make sure you head down as it looks like it will be a great evening.

The House of Blah Blah, Exchange House, Exchange Square, Middlesbrough TS1 1DB


Image Credits: The Baltic Centre, Bowes Museum, The Biscuit Factory, The Laing Gallery, Hartlepool Art Gallery, Platform-A Gallery, House of Blah Blah

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