Five of the Best: For Art Lovers

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Blog post by Rachel Kershaw writer of Life in Geordieland, the blog guide to NewcastleGateshead. In this series of blog posts – Five of the Best – Rachel has had the hard task of picking out five events, pop-ups, exhibits and activities from the 80-day programme that she thinks are the ones not to miss! 

From iconic and instantly recognisable sculptures like Angel of the North, to subtle street art on hidden corners, Newcastle and Gateshead is bursting with imaginative expressions of creativity.

Great Exhibition of the North gives art lovers a chance to appreciate well-known pieces of Northern art alongside new and innovative exhibitions featuring some of Northern England’s most exciting new artists.

There is so much art to discover during the action packed 80-day programme of events but the perfectly planned Get North Art Trail is the perfect place to start. Explore it at your leisure and be inspired by galleries, outdoor spaces and creative hubs filled with captivating creations.

Once you’ve experienced the Get North Art Trail, delve a little deeper into Northern England’s art scene by visiting some of the unique events and exhibitions that are taking place. I’ve picked out my five favourites from the programme to get you started.

1. Glenn Brown Exhibition at Laing Art Gallery

'In the end we all succumb to the pull of molten core' - Glenn Brown, 2016.

The Laing Art Gallery’s exceptional art collection focuses on British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware. During Great Exhibition of the North it will welcome the work of Hexham-born Glenn Brown whose mesmerising masterpieces have made him one of the most renowned British artists practising today. Brown is curating his own collection to premiere at the Laing so be sure to pop in and be inspired by his favourite pieces.

2. ‘Bridges’ at Sage Gateshead


Bridges at Sage Gateshead

Newcastle and Gateshead is renowned for its bridges, depicted by talented artists in countless ways. During Great Exhibition of the North, pop into Sage Gateshead for your chance to see a new animated, musical adventure that brings the iconic bridges to life as colourful characters of the River Tyne. There will be two screenings of ‘Bridges’ per day from 4 August – 6 September (free but ticketed) and I can’t wait to see the results of the Northern collaboration between composer Ed Carter, writer Katie Simmons and the art and design gurus at Newcastle creative studio NOVAK. Don’t miss the Bridges Family Zone to explore the musical inspiration behind the animation.


3. Idea of North at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Idea of North at BALTIC Writing in the Sand, Whitley Bay, 1989, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

We all have our own ideas when it comes to the identity of the North but few can argue that resilience and resurgence play a significant role. Idea of North explores these themes with a unique exhibition celebrating architecture, photography, music, design and culture. The vast space of BALTIC’s level four has been transformed with a series of pavilions to display an array of work by esteemed artists including, David Blandy and Larry Archiampong, Chris Killip and Matt Stokes. A personal highlight is the Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen photography exhibition, which explores the representation of women in the North East. There will be more taking place at BALTIC including an exhibition by Turner Prize-winner Lubaina Himid, work by Sheffield-based artist and writer Tim Etchells, a major new commission by Michael Dean and Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins. Side Gallery, tucked away along the Quayside will also have an exhibition to complement the photography on display in Level 4 at BALTIC; About the North: Imagined Dialogues.


4. Winged Tales of the North – Ouseburn Valley

Winged Tales of the North


At the heart of Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley is Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books which has helped create a colourful and imaginative street art trail – Winged Tales of the North – inspired by one of the North’s best loved children’s authors, David Almond. Step in to this quirky corner of the city during Great Exhibition of the North and you’ll discover a series of stunning murals, surprising sculptures and awe-inspiring artworks created by local artist Kate Drummond. It’s the perfect excuse to wander through Newcastle’s up and coming cultural quarter. A major retrospective exhibition of work by David Almond is also on display within Seven Stories (admission charge applies).


5. Life in a Northern Town – Multiple Venues

Life in a Northern Town

Exciting Northern artists in the early stages of their careers are being given a chance to shine during Great Exhibition of the North. Their interpretations of what makes life in Northern England so distinctive will be showcased in a series of exhibitions and events – Life in a Northern Town – at various locations that you might not normally venture in to. The Newbridge Project is one of the vibrant venues taking part, as is the historic Carliol House in the centre of Newcastle so I’m looking forward to discovering new places as well as new people on the Northern art scene.

Oh there is so much more…

If that wasn’t enough, there is:

What are your favourite activities, events, pop-ups and exhibits exploring the theme of art and culture? Let us know on social media via Twitter and Instagram: @GetNorth2018 and Facebook @Great Exhibition of the North 2018 #GetNorth2018 



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