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Visual arts


We want to make and show great visual arts in County Durham that is enjoyed by an increasing number of people.

Our exhibitions

Ps in a Pod

The same and different is a cast iron sculptural installation currently touring different locations across County Durham. The P sculptures appear similar in form but each one is unique and differs slightly to all others - just like people. Like humans, the sculptures have a sense of adventure and energy. The sculptures respond to their environment and their location alters the personality of the artworks so the diverse landscapes of County Durham create very different settings for the sculptures.

They are now installed in their permanent home at Wharton Park, Durham. To find out more visit Ps in a Pod.

Ps in a Pod exhibition

The McGuiness Gallery, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Bishop Auckland is currently showing an exhibition of work by sculptor Louise Plant, which links to our touring sculpture  - Ps in a pod. This fascinating exhibition shows the process of how Ps came to life, starting out as sketch book drawings, then plaster models in Louise's studio and finally being cast from scrap metal at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. In the gallery you will find a film by Alan Fentiman, describing how Durham's cast iron Ps were made. You will also find drawings and prints of the Ps, marble P sculptures and tiny P sculptures in bronze and ceramic.

The exhibition is open until 7 April 2018.

Matisse Drawing with Scissors, Late Works

Gala Gallery, The Gala Theatre, Durham from 17 February until 18 March 2018.

New College Durham Degree Show

Featuring a selection of students' works from the Higher Education Fine Art degree show.

Gala Gallery, The Gala Theatre, Durham from Tuesday 20 March until Monday 14 May 2018.

Gala Open

Gala Open is a visual arts commission to create a new temporary, site responsive work in any media for exhibition in the Gala Gallery from 20 May to 17 June 2018.

Lee Miller at Farley Farm

Showcasing a collection of photographs by one of the most remarkable photographers of the twentieth century, Lee Miller, taken in the place she recovered from World War 2 and where she and her husband, Roland Penrose, entertained their many famous friends who feature in this selection, including Max Ernst, André Masson, Man Ray, Paul Eluard and Pablo Picasso.

Gala Gallery, The Gala Theatre, Durham from 24 June until 2 September 2018.

Claude Cahun: Beneath the Mask

This Hayward Touring exhibition features the work of French female photographer Claude Cahun (1894-1954), whose practice investigates gender and identity. Cahun achieved posthumous fame for her elusive self-portraits in which she assumed multiple personae. The exhibition contains 42 contemporary prints made from scans of Cahun's original photographic self-portraits, as the majority of the negatives have been lost.

At Gala Gallery, The Gala Theatre, Durham from 8 September until 8 November 2018.

Our Venues

Gala Gallery

Gala Gallery is located within the Gala Theatre, Durham in the centre of Durham. It shows changing exhibitions of modern and contemporary art by regional, national and international artists which make associations with the context of the Theatre programme.  

McGuiness Gallery

The McGuiness Gallery is located within Bishop Auckland Town Hall in the centre of Bishop Auckland.

Our aims

We aim to:

  • Provide high quality visual arts events and exhibitions that promote County Durham as a destination and attract visitors from beyond the region.
  • Offer opportunities for employment and development of professional artists from County Durham and the North East.
  • Engage high quality artists create work in County Durham making connextions to the national and international visual arts scene.
  • Create visual arts programmes taht challenge, provoke and inspire audiences.
  • Embed education and learning opportunities within all visual arts activity in order to expandknowledge, understand and raise aspirations.
  • provide high quality, interactive community engagement linked to and promoting wellbeing and enjoyment.

We will do this by delivering a wide-ranging programme of modern and contemporary visual arts including art installations in public places as well as venue based exhibitions at Bishop Auckland Town Hall and Gala Gallery, Durham.

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