Hartlepool Art Gallery was converted from a church to a space to exhibit in 1996. It was here that Ashley Landsbury, Cultural Officer (Arts & Exhibitions), talked to the Latest Edition team about her vision for the future and the demands of having a small budget to create exhibitions. Ashley explained there were always honourable intentions to the artists and exhibition agreements included a small exhibition fee. Other financial support to artists came in the form of running paid workshops and using the venue as making space for artists.
The vision Ashley talked about embedded the Tees Valley community into the future programming, supporting local artists, guiding post-graduate students as well as setting standards high. The concept feeds into the “Hartlepool Vision”, which encompasses a major regeneration of the area with the gallery forming a focal point for the cultural quarter.The gallery space is lofty, full of character, noise and bustle. Situated towards the back of the space is a café. The space is multi-functional: a workshop was taking place during our site visit, as well as numerous varied exhibitions.
The APSE gallery space has been chosen for the Latest Edition exhibition. It’s a cosy space at the far end of the gallery with beautiful stained glass windows.
Palace Arts, in Redcar is a very different place. Mark Hickson, Palace Arts Director, took time out to show the team around the space.Mark and his partner set the space up as a Community Interest Company and have put a lot of hard work into making the project work. Support from the council helps in a big way with the space being provided as part of the service level agreement.It’s a vital space to the local arts community: it gives artists the opportunity to show their work in a professional and well organised venue. As well as exhibitors the local community benefits greatly from the range of work on show, including the “attention seeking work” of higher profile artists (currently Martin Parr).
Each person who shows his/her work agrees to volunteer one day in the gallery. This builds a strong bond between the artists and venue. Although different, both venues have a strong community element, aiming to invest in the cultural ecology for the benefit of both artists & visitors; the distinction becomes blurred as the artists are the audience and the visitors can become the exhibitors.Both venues hold exciting opportunities and challenging curating decisions.
The Latest Edition team are ready for the task, with plenty of ideas and problems solving tips! Watch this space!