Northern Print's Director Anna Wilkinson discusses plans with artist Meg Held Image by Jill Tate
Work gets underway
The main gallery space with wall removed.
Northern Print celebrates its 21st anniversary with £200K of capital investment
30 July 2015
Artists, school children, students, community groups and art lovers across the north east of England are set to benefit from £200K of capital investment funding that has been awarded to Northern Print, the region’s centre for original printmaking. The organisation is currently making substantial improvements to its building and facilities thanks mainly to Arts Council England’s Capital Funding Initiative and the Biffa Award as well as a number of smaller contributions from other trusts and foundations and individual donations.
The exciting development comes as Northern Print celebrates its 21st anniversary and since its move from North Shields Fish Quay in 2006 to its current home in an award-winning renovated building in the heart of Ouseburn, the organisation has gone from strength to strength. The successful move has led to a steady growth in gallery visitor figures, studio members and people attending Northern Print's classes and courses and the high demand for facilities has demonstrated a need for more space and printmaking equipment.
The past few years has seen a rise in printmaking techniques which embrace new technologies and the funding will enable Northern Print to offer affordable and free access to digital equipment such as a large format digital printer and a laser cutter and as well as offering expert tuition.
The first stage of the building work is completed which will house the organisation's growing archive of prints from its 21 year history in addition to accommodating the archive from the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust documenting the substantial career of the acclaimed printmaker. The archive of prints will be catalogued over the coming year and presented as a learning resource for all.
The gallery has now re-opened with exhibitions of work by Mexican printmaker Humberto Valdez and work by past prizewinners and participants of the International Print Biennale. Featured artists include Trevor Banthorpe, Rachel Gross, Ellen Heck, Katherine Jones, Seripop and Bronwen Sleigh. Further developments are planned to enhance the experience of gallery visitors with hands on activities for children and a new viewing window into the studio to make a direct visual link between the prints exhibited and the production processes. An improved shop will enable visitors to purchase of beautiful and unique printed items and new outreach equipment and a van will mean that more people, especially schools and community groups will be able to experience the wonders of printmaker wherever they are based in the region.
Northern Print’s Director Anna Wilkinson said:
‘We are excited that we will be able to give more people an experience of printmaking with an incredible breadth of equipment and techniques on offer - from our Albion printing press from 1897 for printing woodblocks to our state of the art laser cutter –it also offers some really interesting opportunities for exploring the ability for these types of processes to be combined in truly unique ways.’
North East –based artist Rachael Clewlow said:
“Northern Print is an invaluable resource for me as an artist. To have such great facilities, embracing both old and new technologies, beautiful gallery and highly skilled technicians on hand is something to be highly valued. This is an important North Eastern institution.”
Gillian French, Programme Manager, Biffa Award said:
“We’re pleased to be supporting the work here at Northern Print, which will maximise opportunities for both adults and children to see original art, and enjoy the hands-on experience of printmaking. This project is an excellent example of how the Landfill Communities Fund can help improve public access to important cultural facilities.”
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