We work to support the visual arts in the North East of England. We do this by providing information for the sector and public; supporting individual practitioners and art institutions; and developing and delivering resources, events and projects. We work with the sector to identify and tackle opportunities together.

Rooted in the North East

We’re very proud of the North East. Its unique ecology of large, energetic cities and a wild interior has set the conditions for the creation, study, exhibition and export of art which is internationally significant — while always intimately entwined with the history, communities and topography of the region. 

Characterised by the presence of both world-class art institutions and an active, committed grassroots and DIY scene, the North East is home to a distinctive artistic community which thrives on exchange, experimentation and invention, suffused by an energy, generosity and openness which marks it, we feel, as unique in England.

Our aims

We want to ensure that the North East continues to be a region where artists can thrive, and where the relationship between artists and institutions is mutually supportive. We want to activate the link between our region’s individual practitioners and its institutions. For us, the big issues are those concerning individual practitioners; the structural conditions of the sector; and raising the profile of the North East nationally.

For individuals, these include, but are not limited to the retention of early-career practitioners; opportunities for research, artist development, exhibition and employment; and support for facilities and networks which enable both intra- and extra-regional activity. We offer free one-to-one mentoring / discussion sessions for individual practitioners, bookable here.

For institutions, we’re interested in developing a more collaborative framework for organisations across the region, extending their ability to work across sub-regional boundaries; supporting their artistic activity by providing region-wide publicity and highlighting links and connections across the region; and scrutinising the extent to which they are representative of and engage with their constituents.

Governance

Art Network North East currently has one part-time staff member, Adam Pugh, hosted by Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. It is supported by an advisory group of individual practitioners and institutional representatives which is in the process of redevelopment and renewal. Our co-chairs are Rebecca Huggan (Director, The NewBridge Project) and artist Kathryn Elkin.

Visual arts?
We recognise that the ‘visual arts’ is in many ways a specious distinction which doesn’t take account of the way artists work. We aim to acknowledge the porosity of boundaries as far as possible.

Funding
Art Network North East is publicly funded by Arts Council England. It is a member of the England-wide Contemporary Visual Arts Network. See our full list of partners and supporters.