Previous exhibitions

Colourscapes, Colin Graham

Saturday 7 September 2019 - Thursday 3 October 2019

Colourscapes example 1
Colourscapes example 2
Colourscapes example 3
Colourscapes example 4
Colourscapes example 5
Colourscapes example 6
Colourscapes example 7
Colourscapes example 8

Colin Graham exhibited  'A Mind's Eye', at Darlington Library in 2015 sharing work from years of his practice.  The 'Colourscapes' exhibition in 2019 further  explored some of the notions raised in 'A Mind's Eye', predominantly that the focus for outcomes in painting is IDEAS; and that work in an abstract mode has just as much a grasp on reality as work that reflects visually the natural world as it looks.  Within 'Colourscapes' Colin has taken on board some of Kandinsky's thoughts on the inner meanings of relationships in art, with regard to the emotional and the spiritual.  The exhibition sought to raise questions regarding the power of shape, line, tone and colour to provoke and encourage strong conceptual and emotional responses and Colin believes 'an abstract work is the visual equivalent of a mental state'.

Colin Graham art talk

During 'Colourscapes' Colin gave an artist's talk and met and talked with many visitors to the gallery at Darlington Library.  The 'Colourscapes' exhibition raised questions, encouraged dialogue around painting and secured many positive comments, a selection of which are shown below.

Colourscape comments 1
Colourscape comments 2
Colourscape comments 3

Born in North Lincolnshire, Colin trained at the Leeds College of Art and Leeds University, with Degrees in Book Illustration and Teaching (Art Education) with further degrees at the Open University and York University. His professional career has been in Art(s) Education in Schools and in Colleges and Polytechnics/University.  More information at

In Transition, Richard Gaunt

Saturday 17 August - Thursday 5 September 2019

The 1960s saw big changes in and around Darlington. North Road railway workshops closed in 1966, Darlington Forge closed in 1967; and there were plenty more layoffs and closures. It wasn't all bad news: new factories came, but didn't always stay. It wasn't just the 1960s, and it wasn't just Darlington. UK heavy engineering faced long-term decline. In 1960 British Railways had several thousand active steam engines; by the end of 1968, that number was zero. All sorts of changes were going on in music and clothing. Mostly, people were better off and numbers of foreign holidays were climbing. There were more cars on the roads; road building too was charging ahead. Richard Gaunt lived in Darlington at that time and assembled a unique and fascinating photographic record. What stands out, more than 50 years after these images were taken, are the transitions. Steam to diesel on the railways, the last few deliveries by horse and cart, threats to corner shops and terrace housing. Above all, it's the details: evening sunlight on oily rivets, adverts for long-gone products, Roy Orbison on tour. These were all lovingly captured in stunning black-and-white images.

Richard Gaunt mine cart photo
Richard Gaunt back of houses photo
Richard Gaunt  rail worker photo
Richard Gaunt rotting boat photo
Richard Gaunt run down buildings

The exhibition attracted a high number of visitors of all ages, many commenting reflecting on changes in the Town, some reflecting on places they had grown, people they have known and times past, lots commenting on the quality of Richard's work.

Richard Gaunt gallery photo 1
Richard Gaunt gallery photo 2
Richard Gaunt gallery photo 3
Richard Gaunt gallery photo 4

Darlington Association of Photographers


Stockton high street
Rafting at tees barrage
Beach war scene

Resurge (v) Resurgence (n): experience resurrection, revive, rise, rise again.

The photographic area covered by this exhibition ranged from the Pennines to the Tees estuary, encompassing areas as far north as Hartlepool to Staithes in the south - passing through a variety of countrysides, towns and villages.

For this exhibition photographers were given free rein to express themselves using visual language no matter what the photographic media, process or techniques involved.

This exhibition was very popular and attracted positive interest and comments.

Barrie J Davies' - Greatest Hits

Saturday 1 June - Thursday 11 July 2019

Barrie J Davies is an artist. His artwork is a an exotic cocktail of graffiti, street, graphic and pop art. Barrie graduated in Fine Art from the Southampton Institute in 2000, as well as a Masters Degree at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff in 2004. He now lives and works in sunny Brighton where his studio is situated in the wonderful Lanes. His work is inspired by social media, graffiti, consumerism, pop culture and the urban life in which he lives. His artwork is made with a mixture of acrylic, household paints, spray paint, glitter, screen printing, markers, comic books, digital print and found objects.

Barrie's fun colourful psychedelic subversive pop art artwork is inspired by street art and has a humorous approach to expose the human condition: notions of success, money, glamour, love, death, sex, gender & religion which are picked at with dry comedic use of tragedy meshed with absurdity. Barrie's work is in many public and private collections worldwide, as well as being by owned by comedian Noel Fielding and superstar DJ Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim.

Barrie J Davies exhibition attracted a lot of interest at the gallery in Darlington Library and positive comments including 'uplifting'.

Barrie J Davies artwork 1
Barrie J Davies artwork 2
Barrie J Davies artwork 3

Unseen Beautiful

April 2019 saw Creative Darlington collaborating with Lens Think to bring a second call out for 2019. The call out invited people to submit images through Instagram of the ‘Unseen Beautiful’ in and around Darlington. 695 images were submitted and displayed and exhibition visitors were offered the opportunity to vote for their favourite image. 338 votes were counted in total and voting closed on Wednesday 29 May 2019. Three people whose images secured the most votes have been offered a workshop with Joanne Coates and the photographer whose image secured the most votes has also been offered an exhibition at Darlington Town Hall exhibition space in spring 2020, so we can enjoy more of their work.

The Unseen Beautiful exhibition was particularly interested in our beautiful surroundings and the everyday things that people think showcase our town through a different perspective. Submissions were showcased in this exhibition at Darlington Library alongside the work of professional photographer and Lens Think founder Joanne Coates. There were also opportunities to join in drop in activity and get involved in a communal work celebrating Darlington. 

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

Positive comments on the exhibition included

  • I think having local artist been able to show their works + art is very important. And the library is the best place to do it. Excellent. 
  • I came to visit the Lens Think show. Darlington is my closest town, I have visited before but not really felt that this was an Art Space. I have this show! I wish I had submitted work but only work here and didn't have any photos! I really like all the photos & would come again!
    Excellent showing. Really very interesting.
  • Crown Street Gallery is an asset to Darlington. A space that allows for experimentation and one which both arts & non arts audiences can access.

Beyond Graduation

Saturday 6 April 2019 - Tuesday 14 May 2019


Macbean art
Macbean art 2

Beyond Graduation’ brought together around 30 graduates from the BA and MA Fine Art courses from Teesside University, from 2007 to 2018.
Since graduating, each artist has forged individual careers for themselves, many working in creative industries as Artists, Teaches and Therapists. Some have taken an altogether different career path, but still maintain their creative skills in their spare time. The exhibition showcased the diversity of a creative education, highlighting where the artists came from, and what they have gone on to achieve. The breadth of practice within the exhibition made Beyond Graduation very popular with gallery visitors.

Each artist exhibited a piece of work that demonstrated their art practice as it is now, free from academic pressures and adapted to fit in with their life style and studio facilities. They have all formed friendships through Teesside University; friendships which provide the mutual support and underpin the artistic network which helps them to play a part in the local cultural scene within the Tees Valley.

Macbean art 3
Macbean art 4

The Town’s Collection – artwork drawn from your Borough Art Collection

Saturday 2 February - Thursday 21 March 2019


Borough art 1
Borough art 2
Borough art 3
Borough art 4

The Town’s Collection exhibition brought around forty works in The Borough Art Collection into view and over 3,500 visits were made to the gallery between 4 February and 18 March 2019. Darlington based Bobb Wootten selected a range of drawings in ink, pastel or pencil, a selection of the many watercolour paintings in the collection, plus a single oil painting and etching. This exhibition featured a number of works by the artist James Lindsey Bird (1903 – 1972), exploring Darlington and further afield, which were kindly donated in recent years. The exhibition secured many positive comments from those visiting the gallery including 'thank you very much for such a talented and varied exhibition .... what a legacy for Darlington people.' There are currently over 500 pieces of original artwork within the Borough Art Collection. The collection has grown over many decades through donation, purchase and bequest of original work and we try to share it in different ways. This was the fifth exhibition drawn in full or part from works in the Borough Art Collection since the new gallery opened at Crown Street Library in May 2012, the others were:

  • The Salon, November to December 2012 - Grouped artwork within the Borough Art Collection by theme or style and presented via a traditional Salon hang
  • Objects of Curiosity, August to September 2014 - Asked questions about pieces in the collection, questioned how collections grow and encouraged visitors to create their own stories from the images on display
  • Borough Art Collection, August to September 2016 - Explored the work of artists in Darlington, focusing on portraits of Darlington people, pictures of well-known buildings and of the changing landscape
  • Tell Her Story, November 2016 to January 2017 - Creatively explored images of unknown women in the Darlington Borough Art Collection and considers what they are saying to us now

Darlington Society of Arts

Saturday 8 December 2018 - Thursday 31 January 2019

Norfolk sunrise
Porthminster harbour
Follow my leader
Low moor

Darlington Borough Council was delighted to host the fifth exhibition by Darlington Society of Arts in the gallery at Crown Street Library since it opened in May 2012. The exhibition provided a rich mix of accomplished and original work in a variety of media and attracted positive comment from visitors to the gallery.

Darlington Society of Arts was founded in 1922 by J E Hodgkin, to stimulate an interest in the creation and appreciation of Art and Craft within the community of Darlington and the surrounding areas and is thriving.
They meet each Wednesday at Hummersknott School at 7 pm – 9 pm. They welcome anyone to come along to see what they do and hopefully join them to enjoy the friendly atmosphere and have fun drawing, painting and perhaps trying something new. Darlington Society of Arts acknowledge the great support of Ian Hughes from the Art Shop for many years.

Their website gives lots of information about what is on each week, photos of previous exhibitions and activities and advises how you can contact them if you want to find out more. Darlington Society of Arts [external link]

The Community Arts Project

Thursday 18 October 2018 - Thursday 6 December 2018

The Community Arts Project

The Community Art Project provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to practice various visual arts activities with guidance and encouragement from a professional artist. Now based at The Bridge, the Community Art Project is part of Darlington Borough Council’s Services for People and is funded and managed as part of the Adult Learning Disability Service. This exhibition at Crown Street Art Gallery secured lots of positive comments including:

'Well done to all concerned and looking forward to the next exhibition.

Community Arts Project - Winter Exhibition - October to December 2018
'Beautiful - I would buy them all but I am downsizing.'

'I found this exhibition most enjoyable - thought provoking and intriguing. Thank you! '

If you would like more information about the Community Arts Project, please contact [email protected] or telephone 01325 24386.

‘Images of Steam’ Exhibition of Railway and Landscape Art by Stephen Bainbridge

Wednesday 29 August to Tuesday 16 October 2018

Stephen's second exhibition at Crown Street Library was very popular, he worked in the gallery to create some new work while his exhibition was on display. Comments included 'brings back memories!' and that below.

'A wonderful experience of a life gone by. You can actually live inside of Stephen's paintings, they are so intricate and expressive in detail. This Railway Exhibition does Darlington proud and I hope it will be repeated during 2025 celebrations.'

Stephen was born in Leicester and held his first exhibition at Crown Street Library from September to October 2017, which was very popular, with many original works and cards available and sold. ‘Images of Steam’ will also reflect his lifelong passion for the days of steam railways. He works to produce paintings that are detailed and technically accurate while portraying the atmosphere of the days of steam.

painting of a train

Having spent many happy hours at Peterborough and Grantham in his youth Stephen has a particular interest in Sir Nigel Gresley and his locomotives and has produced cards for the Gresley Society and his works have been featured in magazines and historical textbooks. He is a member of the LNER Society, The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Group, the North York Moors Railway and the Shildon Model Railway Society. He has recently completed a study for the P2 Group of 2007 ‘Prince of Wales’, currently under construction at Darlington.

Gilkes Street Artists - Commonplace

Saturday 7 July - Monday 27 August 2018

Commonplace is an exhibition of work by members of Gilkes Street Artists, a Middlesbrough-based studio group. In Commonplace, the artists investigate their personal ideas of the everyday experience through painting, printmaking, mixed media and tapestry weaving.

Gilkes Street Artists - Commonplace 1
Gilkes Street Artists - Commonplace 2
Gilkes Street Artists - Commonplace opening
Gilkes Street Artists - Commonplace face

The artists are Emma Bennett, Dianne Bowell, Ray Husband, Leanne Jackson, Brian Russell, Dot Seddon, Jenni Thirlwell and John Wheeler.

Gilkes street artists facebook page [external link]

Different Facets - Alison Hill

Saturday 19 May - Thursday 5 July 2018

This was Alison’s first exhibition of original art including drawings, textile art and paintings at Crown Street Library and attracted many positive comments, a selection of which are shown below:

  • A superb exhibition by Alison Hill, particularly the free motion embroidery. Very innovative! Love the violinist.
  • I do art myself. Looking for inspiration. Think I was meant to come in. Very talented and emotional work.
  • The best exhibition I have ever seen with all of the art coming from one person. 
  • A very skilled practitioner in both pastels and machine embroidery. An interesting exhibition.
  • Never seen such vivid textile work.
  • Loved your imaginative and skilful work.
Alison Hill, bird of prey
Alison hill, dog walking

Alison has always had a love of nature and hopes to have captured the essence of rural life in her drawings, paintings and embroidery. Her textile art is inspired by an interest in sewing and how the use of a sewing machine and thread can bring intensity of colour, detail of the texture and capture the form of living things. She incorporates pastel drawings on felt, free machine embroidery, appliqué and collage in the pieces. Further information available at Alison's website [external link]. This is a selling exhibition.

Saturday 31 March 2018 - Thursday 17 May 2018

The Community Art Project provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to practice various visual arts activities with guidance and encouragement from a professional artist. Now based at The Bridge, the Community Art Project is part of Darlington Borough Council’s Services for People and is funded and managed as part of the Adult Learning Disability Service.

In 2017 Community Art Project work went on display in Darlington Building Society's branch on Tubwell Row in Darlington town centre and recently fifteen artists from the Community Art Project had works included in the ‘Et Tu, Art Brute?’ exhibition at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York which ran until 28 January 2018. Andrew Edlin Gallery is one of the world’s leading galleries of outsider art and ‘Et Tu, Art Brute?’ was a special project organised by curator and writer Jamie Sterns.

The Community Arts Project spring 2018 exhibition at Crown Street Art Gallery included original paintings, drawings, prints, digital art and works in papier-mâché and secured lots of positive comments:

'Wonderful use of vibrant colours and shapes'.
'Great to see this work framed! Well done everyone!'
'I love Felt Tip Pens what a surprise.''
'Clever and inspirational.'

If you would like more information about the CAP including enquiries about viewing or purchasing artwork, please contact [email protected] or telephone 01325 24386.

Beginnings and Endings by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick

Saturday 10 February - Thursday 29 March 2018

Helen advised 'everything has a beginning and an ending, but the edges are frequently blurred and very often the end becomes a new beginning'. This conundrum has been commented on by many:

“Sometimes what you think is an end is only a beginning. And that wouldn't do at all.” - Agatha Christie

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” - Winston Churchill

If there is a beginning and an end then there must also be a middle. A river has its source in the mountain and ends when it reaches the sea, but in between it flows through fields and towns, over of rocks, and it is changed by each. Life itself is marked by birth and death, but what a rich tapestry there is in between the two! This exhibition of textile art explored beginnings, endings and the bits in between with 2,563 visits recorded, and around fifty people attending an artist's talk to start the exhibition. Many positive comments gathered in addition to work sold.

This was the third exhibition Helen has held at the gallery in Crown Street Library since 2012, each addressing a distinct theme. More on Helen's practice at Visions in thread [external link].

beginnings and endings

Darlington Society of Arts - group exhibition

Saturday 16 December 2017 - Thursday 8 February 2018

The fourth group exhibition by Darlington Society of Arts since May 2012 was a great success, with original works from many different artists shown. An opening night included the presentation of awards recognising the great work of artists within the society. Gallery visitors expressed interest in buying several works and many positive comments on the exhibition were noted.

Darlington Society of Arts was founded in 1922 with the object of stimulating interest in, and also the creation and appreciation of art and craft in Darlington and the surrounding area. The Society is a friendly group of amateurs and professional artists of all ages. They normally meet on Wednesday evenings at Hummersknott Academy, with further information available at Darlington Society of Arts [external link].

Paul Dillon - Retrospective

Saturday 11 November 2017 - Thursday 14 December 2017

Today best known for his landscape painting, artist Paul Dillon exhibited work in this exhibition from a career that covers more than 40 years to date, with painting and graphic design from a diverse portfolio of subjects including science fiction and fantasy, steam trains, wildlife, punk album covers and event posters. In parallel with his work as an artist, Paul ran Darlington Media Workshop and the exhibition included a selection of black and white photographs taken in and around Darlington Arts Centre in the 1980s and 1990s and the exhibition attracted secured good attendance and great comments.

  • Great exhibition.
  • I am in awe of your work. I loved the punk posters and the fantasy work is stunning.
  • Always inspiring Paul – Happy memories.
  • Paul, a really interesting exhibition.
  • Wonderful, eclectic, nostalgic, encompassing the cultural pond of Darlington and community.
  • Enjoyed the visit and the work 
Paul Dillon 1

Conversations in Painting: ‘if it fits in the Fiesta you’re in…’ present an exhibition of new and recent paintings

Saturday 14 October until Thursday 9 November 2017

The Conversations in Painting: ‘if it fits in the Fiesta you’re in…’ exhibition opening on Friday 13 October attracted visitors from across Tees Valley, the North East and further afield. This painting focused exhibition ran at Crown Street Art Gallery from Saturday 14 October until Thursday 9 November 2017, attracting over 1,500 visits. Those involved in Conversations in Painting organised a panel discussion in the gallery on Thursday 2 November 2017, and encouraged discussion around painting within the exhibition. New work made by a group of practitioners who sustain a direct connection with the Tees Valley was shared, a collaboration of emerging, established, national and international artists whose collective expertise represented a diverse range of interpretive approaches. Artists Sarah COONEY, Deb COVELL, Gordon DALTON, Philip GATENBY, Remy NEUMANN and Alicia PAZ shared their work. Crown Street Art Gallery was delighted to support this artist led project initiated by Sarah Cooney and Philip Gatenby in partnership with the independent curator Kerry Harker, as a co-curated selective review of non-representational approaches to fine art practice. Their programme was delivered within the conventions of the white box gallery as a ‘performance space’ for shared conversational dialogue between participant artists and the public. 

This artist led project secured support from Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts) and Darlington Borough Council, and partner support from: Creative Darlington, Navigator North, Platform A Gallery, The House of Blah, Blah and The Auxiliary.

You can visit their website here [external link]

Splendour of Steam - Railway and Landscape Art 
Stephen Bainbridge

Saturday 9 September 2017 - Wednesday 11 October 2017

Stephen was born in Leicester and has worked in the acrylic medium for over forty years. This exhibition shares his lifelong passion for the days of steam railways alongside his passion for landscape. His works have featured in magazines and have been used in historical text books and his works are detailed and technically accurate while portraying the atmosphere of the days of steam.

Stephen was born in Leicester and has worked in the acrylic medium for over forty years. Stephen spent several days working on a new painting within the gallery during the exhibition, giving visitors an opportunity to meet the artist, find out more about his practice and to ask questions. This exhibition shared his lifelong passion for the days of steam railways alongside his passion for landscape. His works have featured in magazines and have been used in historical text books and his works are detailed and technically accurate while portraying the atmosphere of the days of steam. Having spent many happy hours at Peterborough and Grantham in his youth Stephen has a particular interest in Sir Nigel Gresley and his locomotives he is also a member of the North York Moors Railway and The Friends of the Settle – Carlisle Line.

His art is becoming increasingly well-known and recognised in the north, initially in Cumbria with exhibitions in Appleby and Carlisle, and now in Durham and the North East. Now living close to ‘Locomotion’ in County Durham has allowed Stephen to spend time painting at the museum and he hopes to forge further links to other railway centres in the future.

Moving Forward, Looking Back: A History of Darlington Hippodrome

Thursday 27 July - Thursday 7 September 2017

In March 2016 Darlington Civic Theatre received a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform and regenerate the Grade II Listed building to its former glory. The theatre is currently closed for construction and restoration and will reopen in the autumn of 2017 with a new name – Darlington Hippodrome.

This exhibition invited visitors to explore the history of the Hippodrome; examining its past as a busy music hall and Palace of Varieties and the great array of stars that performed in Darlington, while celebrating the remarkable life of its founding director Signor Rino Pepi. 

It examined the theatre’s architecture and the role of the three different architects in designing this iconic building, including some of the key features like the haystack ventilator and water tower, and how they are currently being restored.

It also provided the opportunity for a visitors to enjoy a sneak preview of how the restored theatre will look, as well as the exciting programme of works which will take it into the future. [external link]

Community Arts Project spring exhibition

Friday 2 June - Tuesday 25 July 2017

The Community Art Project provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to practice various visual arts activities with guidance and encouragement from a professional artist. Now based at The Bridge, the Community Art Project is part of Darlington Borough Council’s Services for People and is funded and managed as part of the Adult Learning Disability Service.

This exhibition comprised a selection of new work from the thirty two people who currently attend the CAP. It included works in a range of media from paintings to digital art and was extended by popular demand attracting comments including:

Brilliant! I could buy all the pictures,
Interesting pictures showing good ideas and creative styles,
Brilliant exhibition, some very interesting pieces – varied used of equipment making exciting and innovative works of art,
Great exhibition CAP.

Darlington Society of Arts spring exhibition

Saturday 25 February - Thursday 20 April 2017

This popular exhibition attracted 3,711 visits (the fourth highest exhibition attendance since the gallery opened), works by several artists were sold during the exhibition and positive comments including 'it was a joy to come in and view these excellent pieces of work.'

Darlington Society of Arts was founded in 1922 with the prime object of stimulating interest in and appreciation of art in Darlington and the surrounding area.

Darlington Society of Arts now meets on Wednesday evenings 7-9pm at Hummersknott Academy. There is a themed club night programme to inspire and give support to anyone who enjoys painting and crafting in a friendly setting.

The exhibition at Crown Street Library provides an opportunity to showcase members’ work and to reflect the diversity of their creative talents.

New members are welcome, beginners or experienced, to join the society and enjoy our upcoming workshops. 

Moved by the Spirit: The Friends Legacy

Exhibition by the Darlington Association of Photographers

Saturday 14 January 2017 - Thursday 23 February 2017

The exhibition included great original photographs and the display of various cameras and attracted nearly 3,000 visits.

The heritage of the “Quaker ‘ (Society of Friends) work ethic is prevalent in the North East of England, in particular in the towns of Darlington, Stockton and Middlesbrough. From the grid lined design of Middlesbrough Old Town to the grand architecture of civic, public and commercial buildings in the 19th Century, they heralded a new era of industry, philanthropy and commerce.

Not only were the Quakers in the forefront of the spiritual revival of the 19th century but were a catalyst in the establishment of non-secular activities, sports, civic responsibilities and social awareness.

Tell Her Story

Tuesday 22 November 2016 - Thursday 12 January 2017

Tell Her Story attracted nearly 2,000 visits to the gallery, including those attending events, which included workshops, talks and poetry performed by Vane Women around the gallery, with poems inspired by both new and old art works within the exhibition. The level and nature of representation/under-representation of women in public art collections, contemporary exhibition programmes and the visual arts world today remains a current issue.

Tell Her Story was a new exhibition, curated by Michaela Wetherell, which looks creatively at the images of unknown women in the Darlington Borough Art Collection and considers what they are saying to us now? Many art collections come together over decades or centuries and contain mysterious works. Sometimes little is known about the subject, artist, the work itself or how it entered the collection.

Darlington’s Art Collection has around 500 original works, including portraits of women now listed as ‘unknown’ and pictures with women who are not named. This exhibition includes paintings and a drawing from Darlington’s art collection, where information on the women involved was either absent, has been lost through time, or where images were drawn from the imagination in the first place. Tell her Story invited artists working today to consider such works and to generate new work in response, with both incorporated in this exhibition.

Artists working today involved in this project are Alyson Agar, Mircea Cirtog, Sarah Cooney, Tallulah Lines and Helen Winthorpe-Kendrick and Darlington's own Jonny Lancaster, Norma Kyle, James Quinn and poet, Helen Steel. This project has been supported through a Grants for the arts award from Arts Council England.

Tell Her Story Leaflet [pdf document]

The Art of Giving

Dhananjay Kelkar

Monday 7 November to Saturday 19 November 2016

An international charity art exhibition will visit Darlington this November in aid of a local and two not-so-local charities.

Darlington-resident Dhananjay Kelkar is a naval architect by trade, but inherited a love and talent for painting from his late father, the renowned artist Madhusudan Kelkar.

Over the last 40 years, Dhananjay has developed his own unique recognisable style, and has exhibited his work in both India and the UK.

Dhananjay will now be exhibiting his latest works at Crown Street Art Gallery, Darlington, in a special exhibition entitled the “Art of Giving” featuring more than 30 paintings.

The paintings will be available for sale and proceeds will be in aid of local charity St Teresa’s Hospice, as well as Indian charities Quest and Lok Biradari Prakalpa which provide free healthcare and education in rural areas.

Dhananjay said: “I have spent a long time in the corporate world in different countries. However, an insight into the world of voluntary work across the world is simply a humbling experience. ‘Art of Giving’ is just a small gesture of appreciation of the selfless dedication of many.”

The exhibition has been organised by Dhananjay, his wife Mohini and their friends, with the support of Creative Darlington.

Further information on the Art of Giving and how you can get involved is available at [external link]

Saturday 1 October to Thursday 3 November 2016

Dickens In Darlington tells the story of the strong connections Dickens had to the world of theatre and music hall and included workshops, readings, storytelling, footage of early Dickens films and plays as well as the display of an amazing dolls house based on Dickens’ home in Doughty Street, London which is now the Dickens Museum.

The Civic Theatre, in partnership with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company, will also present the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities in the Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall, a venue Dickens himself visited on his reading tours of 1858 and 1861. The production will be created by a team of professionals and will feature a full cast of community performers.

A Tale Of Two Cities will take place on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November 2016 at Central Hall, Dolphin Centre, Darlington. Tickets* are £18, discounts £16 and under 16s £10 (*includes £1 restoration levy). To book or for further information on any of these projects, please call the box office on 01325 486555 or visit Darlington Hippodrome [external link]

Works by James Lindsey Bird and other images of Darlington from the Borough Art Collection

Exhibition dates:
Saturday 13 August - Tuesday 27 September 2016

This was the third exhibition drawn from the Borough Art Collection since Crown Street Art Gallery opened, each one has taken a particular slant on this wonderfully diverse and distinctive art collection, The exhibition attracted new visitors and positive comments -

'just been in for the very 1st time (shocking!). Wish I'd been before. My daughter (4) loved it' 

'dropped in for 5 mins. Fantastic. (visitor from Herefordshire)' 

' I love North Lodge Park oil painting - very romantic by Hobson, like the Old Smithy Cockerton and High Row by Gibbs and St Cuthbert's by Drinkwater. Never knew Blackwell had a mill. Now I know who Myles Meehan was and what he looks like and his works'

The Borough Art Collection contains over 500 pieces from drawings, paintings and prints to tapestries and photographs. This exhibition celebrates artists with a particular connection to Darlington and images of well-known buildings or locations, many of which have changed significantly. It includes 50 pieces of work including watercolours, oil paintings, drawings and a photo. 

James Lindsey Bird (1903 - 1972) gained a place at the Royal College of Arts, where he was a contemporary of Henry Moore, and taught art at Darlington Grammar School for many years. A number of James Lindsey Bird’s pictures in this exhibition, were kindly donated to the Borough Art Collection recently, including pictures of Tubwell Row, Bell’s Place and the area around Stanhope Road and Duke Street. 

Myles Meehan was a local amateur artist, (as well as being a police officer), with the Myles Meehan Gallery established at Darlington Arts Centre acknowledging his work. A painting by Ralph Leslie Swinden, who served as Principal Art Master at Darlington School of Art, is also included alongside works by practising artists, including Jackie Plews and Paul Dillon. 

Works here were chosen by Robert Wootten, who has worked with this collection over 15 years. Some depict Darlington in the nineteenth century. Others depict landmarks which may have disappeared or changed in your lifetime. Whether you know Darlington or not, we hope you find the exhibition interesting.

An Exhibition of Textile Art by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick

Exhibition Dates:
Saturday 25 June – Thursday 10 August 2016

Helen organised a well attended exhibition opening event and a number of pieces included sold during the exhibition

Stones form the bedrock of our planet, being the substance on which we all live and survive. Stones of all varieties are used by man to build houses and roads, to create dams and other huge engineering projects and to create art. For thousands of years mankind has prized the precious and unusual rocks that nature creates. The exhibition explores the relationships between us and the stone that nature places at our command. But at the heart of the exhibition theme is a contradiction; on the one hand is the hardness of stone and the other is softness of textiles. The juxtaposition of these two extremes draws attention to the contrast between life and its need for softness and nurture and the hardness and strength of the very stones on which our lives depend. 

Helen's last exhibition at Crown Street Art Gallery 'Mapped Out' was one of our most popular and attracted over 3,000 visits.

Art at AGE UK Darlington

An exhibition of work by tutor and students from AGE UK, Bradbury House, Darlington

Landscape artist Neville N. Dawson was born in Sunderland and trained at Sunderland College of Art. He took early retirement from full time teaching, but continued to teach part time and as a volunteer tutor. Students at the AGE UK group led by Neville meet at Bradbury House in Darlington and were taught good draughtsmanship and encouraged to experiment and develop their own ideas. Demonstrations and individual instruction on a one to one basis was provided. Previous experience although welcome was not essential. Meetings are informal, lasting about 2 hours with a break for refreshments. Basic arts materials were available but most students acquire their own materials, such as acrylics, watercolours, pastels and drawing materials. The exhibition was very popular and demonstrated the appeal of creative activity to all ages and the fantastic talent in Darlington.

Ceramics by Petra Lloyd and paintings and prints by Paul Dillon

A great exhibition by two established local professional artists, popular Darlington based ceramist Petra Lloyd and landscape artist Paul Dillon showed some of their recent work. The exhibition attracted several thousand visitors and both artists sold work as a result.

Paul was born in Market Bosworth in 1952 and moved to County Durham when he was 10 years old. Educated at Cleveland College of Art he has exhibited paintings and photographs in galleries through out the country for the past 38 years. As an arts professional he has worked for Durham University, Darlington Borough Council, Darlington Media Group, Cleveland College of Art and Design and Teeside Tertiary College. Paul is now a self employed Artist and Tutor specialising in Landscape painting. His last solo exhibition, Forest Light II, was the most well attended at Crown Street Art Gallery to date. Petra Lloyd creates sculptural work reflecting her love of nature, especially of birds, fish and animals. She works mostly in stoneware using a mix of oxides and glazes which enhance the character of each piece of work

Darlington Society of Arts exhibition

The gallery is looking forward to hosting a group exhibition by Darlington Society of Art, with great original work from many different artists on show. Darlington Society of Arts was founded in 1922 with the object of stimulating interest in, and also the creation and appreciation of art and craft in Darlington and the surrounding area. The society normally meet on Wednesday evenings at Hummersknott Academy, with further information available at Darlington Society of Arts.

Community Arts Project - Spring exhibition

The Community Art Project is an innovative and ground-breaking project that has been part of Darlington Borough Council's services for adults with learning disabilities since 2004. It provides an opportunity for adults with learning disabilities to try out various visual arts activities with support and encouragement from a professional artist. Those involved in the Community Arts Project exhibit regularly. Their previous exhibitions at Crown Street Art Gallery included original paintings, drawings and textiles. Presented in a professional manner and in the context of a mixed contemporary programme of exhibitions, the artwork regularly attracts favourable reviews and positive feedback and is frequently sold to private buyers.

Retracing Routledge

Katherine Routledge, Darlington and Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

The Retracing Routledge exhibition helped raise awareness of particular aspects of Darlington's heritage, included some great work from young people in schools in Rapa Nui and Darlington, and was accompanied by a range of interesting talks and activity. The exhibition or associated activity, were supported by a range of organisations, business and Hummersknott Academy. The exhibition attracted over 2,500 visits.

Anthropologist Katherine Routledge (neé Pease, born 1866, Darlington) sailed to Rapa Nui as part of the official 1914 Mana expedition to Easter Island. In 2014 Susie Stephen retraced the steps of Katherine Routledge, travelling from Darlington to Rapa Nui (via Southampton, Argentina and Chile). Retracing Routledge, the exhibition, is curated by Susie Stephen and retells the story of the changes that have taken place on the island, and indeed across the world, in the last century.

The exhibition opened on Saturday 28 November 2015 with a great lecture by Susie Stephens and we understand Susie may be planning a book on the project. Retracing Routledge helped to raise funds to support a young woman from Rapa Nui in accessing higher education.

Cartography for Girls

Supported by Creative Darlington, Cartography for Girls was a new exhibition developed by Darlington based artist Carol Sommer, which considered how a visual art approach can engage with and add to, critical readings of the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch’s fictional depictions of female experience.

BOO! Telling Tall Tales

With Peter Barron, John Chadwick, Amy Houghton, Stephen Irving, Kim McDermottroe, Liz Million, Jessica Shepherd, Stuart Trotter, Paul Wick, David Wright. 

Magic, mayhem and monstrous morals abided in this interactive exhibition for children (of all ages), featuring illustrations from the world of children’s books, by popular authors and illustrators. Visitors to the gallery were invited to explore the world of make believe, fantasy and fairy tales, in an exhibition designed to suit both big kids and little kids. Crown Street Art Gallery has promoted several exhibitions by artists exploring and promoting the links between visual art, literature and libraries. BOO! was curated by Norma Kyle, and inspired by illustrations from the immersive world of children’s picture books. 

Various activities were held to accompany BOO! A special opening event, staged on Saturday 12 September 2015 attracted a large family audience who heard Peter Barron read Fidgety Bridget Wrigglesworth and saw children from Stagecoach Theatre Arts School perform it. BOO! coincided with Alice in Wonderlands 150th birthday, and Crown Street Library’s birthday. A special event focused on adults, or those seeking a career in illustration was promoted on Friday 23rd September to celebrate this. Historian and author, Chris Lloyd gave a short talk on the enduring popularity of Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and things which inspired his writing, including his connection to Croft on Tees and Darlington. Liz Million, Stuart Trotter, and Peter Barron together with Paul Wick, completed the line up of speakers giving short talks on their work. 

The exhibition was also accompanied by a participatory programme, BOO! BIG DRAW: Every Drawing tells a Story, October Half Term Activities. A series of free sessions was promoted. Activities included opportunities to learn how to produce your own flip books, design characters, plot a storyline, make a zine, using text, collage and automatic drawing and drawing chance, with illustrators including Stuart Trotter and artists including Nick Kennedy involved.


Have you ever wandered into a strange place and wished you could capture part of its essence? Absorbed the colours and textures of an object and wanted to share the experience?

Images from 5 Photographers that capture the rich textural colours of objects and landscapes from the North East. Photographers Tom Jones, Colin Wilson, Sarah Morehead, Leon Maurice, Gloriana Morehead.

A Grand Tour

The Materialistics

This exhibition was the second shown by The Materialistics at Crown Street Art Gallery since it opened in May 2012, and attracted a great deal of praise and positive comment from gallery visitors. The Materialistics led various events in Darlington during the exhibition to promote engagement in knitting and to get people involved

This was the Materialistics second visit to Crown Street Art Gallery, based on past experience expect great things. The inspiration for A Grand Tour came from the Customs House project, “A Coat for a Boat” in which a fishing coble was completely kitted out in an array of knitwear. A core group of those who were involved decided to form the Materialistics and continue to create quirky exhibitions.

In 2010, the Materialistics took the fishing coble on an imaginary tour around the world, collecting art from the countries visited. Iconic paintings and less famous pieces that represented particular regions were chosen. Some pieces took months, while others took just a few weeks. Most of them were a team effort depending on the skills needed. Some were the work of individuals.

Sponsored by the Port of Tyne Authority and following its opening at the Customs House, A Grand Tour has been on show at venues across the country, including London’s Olympia, the Harrogate International Centre, Cumbria’s Woolfest, the Newcastle Arena, Sunderland Museum and South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

These exquisitely detailed pieces have drawn international acclaim, featuring in national and local newspapers and numerous knitting magazines and blogs. Some original pieces have now been “retired” with new works created to replace them. 

What people have been saying;

"I really enjoyed calling in and seeing all the art work. All of these material pieces are wonderful!"

"What a wonderful range of textiles works. I love this exhibition – wish more people showed an interest in marvels like this, as people are missing out!"

"The minute I walked in this exhibition ‘grabbed’ me. I really enjoyed looking at the different techniques."

"Fabulous exhibition – artworks recreated using fabric and knitting. Inspiring."

"Stunning, imaginative, skilful, learned. Mind-blowing."

"Absolutely ‘blown away’ with some of the work I’ve seen today. The time and effort that must have been spent creating these ‘works of art’ – absolutely brilliant!"

"The Materialistics exhibition – it absolutely took my breath away. I loved every bit of it and applaud all the exhibitors for their innovative and artistic interpretation of the various art works – I couldn’t be more impressed! Hearty congratulations and thanks to all the exhibitors."

Colin Graham - The Mind’s Eye

Colin presented a lecture and question and answer session on a 'mind's eye' on Wednesday 1 April 2015 and made a point of welcoming visitors to the gallery, engaging them in conversation around the exhibition and encouraging people to leave comments, see below. 

'A very interesting exhibition and so good to see skill & variety combined.' 
'Magnificent! I'd like to own them all! A very enjoyable experience - thank you.' 
'The diversity of media and technique is really impressive.' 
'Privilege to witness a wonderful catalogue of such great art.' 
'An excellent exhibition, this has inspired my wife and I to try.' 
'Lovely. Thank you for sharing.' 
'Wonderful pictures, made our morning. Great display.' 
'I know what I like!! and I love them all.' 
'One of the nicest exhibitions I have been to. Glad I called in.' 
'Wonderful to find such a high standard of painting here in Darlington.' 
'An inspirational exhibition, thought provoking and a range of different styles.'

A major exhibition of Darlington artist Colin Graham's imaginative work, containing paintings and drawings developed across the last decade, informed by the mind's eye. Born in North Lincolnshire, Colin trained at the Leeds College of Art and Leeds University, with Degrees in Book Illustration and Teaching (Art Education) with further degrees at the Open University and York University. This exhibition showed the direction his work has taken. 

His professional career has been in Art(s) Education in Schools and in Colleges and Polytechnics/University. Throughout his career he has lectured on art and artists and given practical demonstrations on drawing and painting to Art Societies, in addition to judging their annual exhibitions of work. Encouraging learning in others has enabled him to develop his skills in a wide range of art mediums including Watercolour, Oils, Pastel, Charcoal, Pen and Ink, or Pencil. He is particularly interested in the important role of drawing in art. 

Over the years Colin has exhibited around North Lincolnshire, in the North and North East of England and in London, including one-man shows in Redbourne Hall, Lincolnshire; The Scunthorpe Museum & Art Gallery, Galleries in Middlesbrough, Darlington and Alnwick and more recently in the The Art Works Gallery, Newcastle. He has also exhibited in the Middlesbrough Art Gallery, the Billingham Art Gallery, the Captain Cook Museum, The Station gallery, Richmond, Yorkshire and the Mall Gallery, London. 

Colin hopes you found his exhibition interesting, moving and satisfying. 

Tees Heritage

A Diverse Anthology

From the source of the River Tees to the mouth, Darlington Association of Photographers (DAP) visually celebrate our inheritance. Along their journey through the Tees Valley, the natural beauty of woodlands and rich pastures, industry and architecture, are recorded as signs of life and human intervention. 

Exhibiting Photographers: Eddie Bishop, Geoffrey Bradshaw, Vivien Clear, Richard Collier, Geoffrey Dodds, Robert Elliot, Eric Hall, Jim Lycett, Peter Lycett, Bob McAvoy, Gloriana Morehead, Shelly Newnhan, Pauline Pentony, Keith Rowland, Janet Salmon, David Shaw, Hilary Shaw, Linda Taylor, Ted Wilding, Durham County Records Office 

The exhibition was accompanied by a number of events, including photographing to a theme with guest speaker Clifford Banks, President of the Northern Counties Photographic Federation and a gallery talk on choosing images for display. The range of photography, affection for the river Tees and excellent curation from Norma Kyle made this a very popular exhibition. 

St Cuthbert's Final Journey

Richard W Hardwick and Paul Alexander Knox

A fantastic exhibition by writer, Richard W Hardwick and photographer, Paul Alexander Knox, which was first seen as part of the Lindisfarne Gospels 2013 programme.

Both retraced the route taken by 9th century monks as they flew from invading vikings with the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels – and undertook a momentous journey that helped shape England. 

St Cuthbert's Final Journey [external link]

The exhibition was accompanied by writing and photography events led by Paul and Richard which were very well received.