Gateshead has a long and established tradition of public art, culminating in the award-winning Angel of the North, Gateshead's landmark sculpture, by Antony Gormley. Standing 20 metres high on a hilltop site at the gateway to the borough, the Angel of the North has captured the imagination of the world.
Elsewhere in Gateshead, the Riverside Sculpture Park is an award-winning collection of work by some of the country's leading sculptors, including Richard Harris, Andy Goldsworthy and Sally Matthews. In Gateshead's countryside the Marking the Ways sculpture trail is a six mile circular route featuring around 30 pieces of art. A variety of sculptors produced the work, many of whom worked with local residents in their design.
The Shipley Art Gallery and Gateshead Central Library both house a variety of exhibitions by local, national and international artists throughout the year, and offer a programme of events to reflect themes in these.
Gateshead Council has a strong commitment to encouraging participation in the arts by local people and visitors. Not only is there a thriving amateur arts scene, including the excellent Little Theatre at Saltwell View, but there are also artists in residence who work with local people and schools to produce artworks together. The Caedmon Hall at Central Library is a good performance venue and is particularly known for the quality of its jazz and folk concerts. Arts development projects occur also in education, the environment, social services and health - for example, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has several work of public art and artists have worked to improve health education in the borough. It is this commitment to making the arts an everyday accessible experience that ensures that major arts projects such as the Baltic Gallery and the The Sages Gateshead music centre being built at Gateshead Quays in the millennium will have a strong emphasis on participatory activities for visitors. For details on current arts activities and forthcoming events, telephone 0191 433 8400.