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The legacy

The Angel of the North is the culmination of more than 20 years work by Gateshead Council to put art in public places.

In that time Gateshead's public art programme has:

  • Given the area a national and international profile in the arts.
  • Won dozens of arts awards.
  • Reclaimed many derelict areas.
  • Attracted more than £1/2m of outside support.
  • Involved thousands of local people in the arts, through an extensive education programme, workshops, artist residencies and public events for example Gateshead Family Sculpture Day.  

Making art public

The story started in the early 1980s when Gateshead decided to take art to the public because it did not have its own contemporary art gallery. The early works were so successful that in 1986 the formal public art programme was launched. This was given a tremendous boost during the 1990 Garden Festival in Gateshead with more than 70 artworks on display.

Gateshead now has a legacy of more than 50 major public works by leading artists including, Kate Maestri, John Creed and Andy Goldsworthy and received funding from sources such as the Arts Council Lottery, Northern Arts now known as Arts Council England North East, and The Single Regeneration Budget, One North East and local developers and sponsors.

Art has helped reclaim derelict areas - such as Gateshead Quays - which transformed a former industrial area into an environmentally attractive public area enhanced with artworks.

Moving forward

The national reputation Gateshead Council gained for its groundbreaking work in public art and for delivering a project the size of the Angel gave us the credibility to secure funding to:

  • Convert Baltic Flour Mills into BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art - the largest art space outside London (£46m funding).
  • Build The Glasshouse International Centre for Music - a world class music venue on Gateshead Quays (£70m funding).
  • Construct the Gateshead Millennium Bridge - the world's first tiltling bridge (£22m funding).