The North East is full of art and creativity, everywhere you look there are memories of our shared past in industry, the incredible natural surroundings that shape us as well as the voices of the present day. Although sometimes it can feel frustrating that all of the big arts and cultural events seem to be happening elsewhere, in this blog series we want to outline some of the fantastic art and creative events, landmarks, and galleries that the North East has to offer right NOW!


This week we are taking a look at some of the fantastic exhibitions that are open at the moment. We’ve only highlighted five, with a mixture of those in County Durham and beyond, as well as digital and in person, but there are many more to take a look at…


The Wild About Winter Exhibition

The Wild About Winter Exhibition located in the Arts Café at Community House, Peterlee is a fantastic small exhibition to visit if you are in Peterlee or passing through.

The exhibition is a collection of works organised by The Barn at Easington, with artwork including some of the incredible nature photographs captured during a winter in lockdown by members of the ‘Barn Arts’ Facebook group, wonderful artwork including screen prints by The Barn team and of course the wolf sculpture which moved around East Durham in 2021.

The Wild About Winter Exhibition is open until the 5th April 2022, Wednesdays (12.30 -4.00pm) and Fridays (12.30-3.00 pm), but you can also call East Durham Trust (0191 569 3511) to book a more convenient time outside of these set hours.



Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

This one is a little further away, but definitely well worth a visit! Grayson Perry’s series of large colourful tapestries depicting the life of fictional Sunderland born character Tim Rakewell will be returning to Sunderland in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the work.

The tapestries follow Tim’s story through the British class system from working-class roots through to computer software millionaire. Produced alongside the television series ‘All in the Best Possible Taste’ the tapestries document a variety of British tastes and lifestyles. Britishness is also the focus of Perry’s monumental tapestry ‘Comfort Blanket’, which is set to be shown in the North East for the first time.

The exhibition is on display at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens in the city centre from Saturday the 9th April until Sunday the 5th June 2022. The exhibition is free to attend but booking is essential, which can be done here.


Chris and Steve Rocks: Coming Home

Coming Home is a must-see exhibition by twins Chris and Steve Rocks. The exhibition provides the opportunity for the brothers to tell their stories of how they started in their hometown of Spennymoor and have progressed to become artists making collections for the rich and famous.

The exhibition includes a selection of over thirty pieces of their original works and is hosted on the top floor of the gallery in over three rooms.  The brother’s artistic partnership is shown within these works, with both Chris and Steve painting on one another’s pieces of works. The exhibition focuses on the power of nature, with a focus on the effects of light on land, sky, and water.

The exhibition is housed at the Bob Abley Art Gallery within Spennymoor Town Hall. This is a growing art gallery and is well known for its displays of Norman Cornish artworks, many of which have never been seen before- and which are worth exploring too!

The Gallery is open seven days a week, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm and entry is free, with free parking available at the rear of the Town Hall.


Communities Reconnected Exhibition

We cheated slightly, as this exhibition is across five different venues- so take your pick! The exhibition showcases the amazing creative work made by local communities during the Reconnecting Communities project led by JD Creative. This project set out to reconnect people with creativity and one another following lockdown, via activities and events which were formed around the specific community hubs needs.

So come along and see what the community has been up to. The venues included are:

  • Oakerside Community Centre, Peterlee
  • Wingate Family Centre
  • Hawthorn Village Hall
  • Eastlea Community Centre, Seaham
  • Healthworks, Easington

Get in touch with the venue of your choice to learn more about opening times, and the exhibition run times.


From Walls to Windows

Tim Mara, The Black Room, 1987 Silkscreen on paper, Collection of Durham University. Courtesy of The Tim & Belinda Mara Trust.

If you’re not able to make it out to a venue in person, fear not there are online galleries available too! The incredible exhibition “From Walls to Windows” is all online, and is inspired by the theme of home, having been created in June 2020 during the period of lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The exhibition is curated by Durham University students Charlotte Lock, Yini Wang and Dorry Fox. Although the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations kept us all indoors during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition looks at how they encouraged us to view the home in a new way, with our homes also becoming our schools, workplaces and gyms!

From Walls to Windows is a fantastic collection of creative talent and is a thoughtful way to capture the strangeness of the last two years. The exhibition includes Sharon Bailey’s audio-visual project Home Alone (2020). You may remember we worked with Bailey in 2019 when she created Home Alone, transforming the atrium of Castle Dene Shopping Centre into a living room and performance area. The project looked at the experiences of the older people in our community and highlighted the marked increase in the numbers of vulnerable older people who are isolated and often alone. In 2020 Sharon Bailey spoke again with older members of the community, both those who had worked with her previously and a few new participants who were experiencing isolation, to explore the impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns, and the way these individuals feel further isolated from the outside world.

You can take a look at the online exhibition here, which aims to emulate the experience of an exhibition by incorporating a sense of movement within the home, encouraging the viewer to pause and look at different aspects of the home in a new light.


There you have it, five brilliant exhibitions right on our doorstep! Make sure to let us know any other exhibitions you’ve visited recently, or ones you are looking forward to in the future, and we’ll share them via our social media, drop us an email: