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Previous exhibitions

Now, Then - Lizzie Lovejoy

Tuesday 2 April 2024 - Thursday 2 May 2024


Creative Darlington and Darlington Library present "Now, Then". This is an exhibition celebrating Darlington and the people who have made it the wonderful place that it is.

Lead artist, Lizzie Lovejoy has engaged with members of local communities through workshop, drop in sessions and conversations, learning about the identity of this culturally rich town, over the past nine months.

Inspired by Northern language, "Now, Then" takes its name from the local greeting which Lizzie was gifted with when speaking to people around the town. The artwork breaks down these words, exploring Darlington's innovative heritage and its ever growing present, with stories from yesterday as well as many years ago.

Throughout this project, Lizzie and the participants explored what it means to be Northern and why we are so proud to be part of Darlo culture.

This exhibition also features the work of 5 artists with a strong connection to Darlington. They submitted their work to the Darlo Draws callout.

The "Now, Then" exhibition and Darlo Draws activity have been supported by Project Funding from Arts Council England through the Your Library Story - Darlington Library creative programme award to Darlington Borough Council.


About the Artist

Darlo born Lizzie Lovejoy, is a working-class poet, performer and picture-maker who has an itch for creating that cannot be scratched. Everyday they write and sketch something new, a lifelong creation in pencil and ink that can never stay in the lines. Lizzie won the North East Culture Award for Visual Artist of the Year 2023 and recently took to the stage at Durham Miners Gala.


Place, People and Living Memory

Thursday 1st February 2024 - Monday 25th March 2024

A public exhibition exploring a new order of social justice. It derives from 19th Century women in the North East of England and their radical non resistance.

The women and their associated areas include;

  • Elizabeth Pease - Darlington
  • Josephine Butler - Northumberland
  • Harriet Martineau - North Tyneside.

Each is known for advocacy, original thinking, activism, and support for the cause of women’s political inclusion and emancipation. The exhibition reflects the change in human affairs over the years.

"Pease, Butler & Spence - Radical Non-Resistance & the Art of Transgression" takes its lead from an artwork at the National Portrait Gallery, London. ("The World Anti-Slavery Convention 1840’" by the history painter and diarist Benjamin Robert Haydon.)

Elizabeth Pease was born in Darlington. She was born into a family of wealthy wool merchants. She is known for her campaigns such as workers rights and equality.

"Place, People and Living Memory" includes:

  • an extended photo-essay
  • current practice in painting
  • photography
  • AV film
  • sound work
  • events with the intent to show rather than tell.

Artists in this show are:

  • Dave Allinson (AV Film)
  • Pip Dickens (Painting)
  • Alec Gatenby (Print Media & AV film)
  • Claire Grey (Photography)
  • Bridie Jackson (Docusong)
  • Karen Melvin (Photography)
  • Pat Naldi (Essay text & Film)
  • Alicia Paz (Painting, Photography & Print)
  • Nicky Peacock (Sculpture)
  • Jo Spence (Photographer)
  • Tereza Stehlikova (Film)
  • Ikuko Tsuchiya (Photography).

Meet the Artist: a talk by Laura Wilson

Tuesday 23 January 2024, 1.30pm – 2.45pm
The Hoskins Room, Darlington Library

Meet the artist Laura Wilson who will give a brief tour of her exhibition ‘Circling' at Crown Street Gallery. This will be followed by a an artist talk about previous work and a question and answer session.

‘Circling’ runs until Thursday 25 January 2025, further details below.

Laura Wilson – Circling

Darlington Library
Saturday 17 December 2023 – Thursday 25 January 2024

Circling is a solo exhibition by artist Laura Wilson. The work is a series of weavings made with linen. They explore how memory is created, stored and translated through the body, learning, movement and labour. Linen is one of the strongest fibres in existence. It resists mildew and bacteria, it is hardwearing and doesn’t easily decompose.

Traditionally skilled people were required to produce it. Over the last two years Laura has been learning how to weave by hand on a table loom mentored by weaver Claire Whelan. She has also been researching the social history of the fabric and its facture.

Laura has researched into her family history, the production and export of linen in Northern Ireland and the history of Linenopolis. (Linenopolis is the name given to her home city of Belfast in the 19th Century when it was at the centre of the world’s linen industry.) Some of her ancestors worked in factories in Portadown and Lisburn in Northern Ireland as weavers, warpers and yarn winders. She explores ways information is passed on from one person to another and between generations, in particular how knowledge can be stored within the body.

Works in this exhibition were developed in parallel with Laura’s changing pregnant body. The largest, 'Winding, then Winding' (2023), was produced after childbirth. It took structure from the cycle of her day caring for her newborn - changing the weaving pattern or weft yarn following nursing or soothing. The linen maps the passage of time as a new parent, growth spurts, cluster feeding and naps. Laura considers that as a counterpoint to the increasing pace of mechanical production and often invisible, outsourced labour of today’s new technologies and unsustainable production of fabrics for fast fashion, as well as the relationship between women’s work and labour.

The exhibition title comes from Laura’s newest work presented here for the first time. 'Circling' (2023) is a weaving made with the artists mother, who she taught how to weave earlier this year as part of her exhibition at CCA Derry~Londonderry. They wove together on the first day of the exhibition and other weavers from Northern Ireland were invited to contribute to the weaving during the exhibition run. Laura’s mother passed away in Autumn 2023 and Laura has completed the weaving that they started together.

A text by Kerri ní Dochartaigh accompanies the work and is available for visitors to take away, or download from [External link]

The exhibition in Darlington Library brings to light Darlington’s rich and fascinating history producing high quality linen. Until the 19th Century linen was one most important trades in the town and surrounding villages. The first machine for spinning flax was developed and used in Darlington by John Kendrew and patented in 1787. Pease’s Mill (now demolished) sat at the centre of the town, employing mainly women and children in its early days.

Wilson has selected objects and artworks from the Local Studies Archives and Darlington Borough Art Collection and presented them alongside her work. These include the painting Pease’s Mill, Darlington, County Durham by Myles Meehan (1904 – 1974).

Funded by the County Durham Community Foundation’s Dover Prize Fund. Thank you to Durham County Local History Society as copyright holders for granting Darlington Borough Council permission to reproduce The Linen Weavers of Hurworth-on-Tees article by Vera Chapman in this exhibition and to:

  • Stephen Bunting
  • Severina Dico-Young,
  • Kerri ní Dochartaigh,
  • Jack Field,
  • Rob Field,
  • Sharon Gollan,
  • Catherine Hemelryk,
  • Ian Rigby,
  • Claire Whelan,
  • Alex Wilson,
  • Creative Darlington,
  • Darlington Cultural Volunteers,
  • the staff at Darlington Library
  • all the participating weavers.

Laura Wilson was born in Belfast and lives and works in London. She has an interest in how history is carried and evolved through everyday materials, trades and craftsmanship. She works with specialists to develop sculptural and performative works that amplify the relationship between materiality, memory and tacit knowledge.

Wilson’s interdisciplinary and research-based works have been exhibited widely including at:

  • CCA Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • MIMA, Middlesbrough (2023)
  • Site Gallery, Sheffield (2022)
  • The Collection, Lincoln with Mansions of the Future, UK
  • First Draft, Sydney, Australia
  • The Landmark Trust, Wales, UK (2021)
  • 5th Istanbul Design Biennial – Empathy Revisited: Designs for More than One
  • Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, UK as part of New Geographies (2020)
  • The British Museum, London, UK with Block Universe
  • Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK
  • The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London, UK (2018)
  • SPACE, London, UK
  • V&A Museum, London, UK
  • Invisible Dust at Hull and East Riding Museum, Hull, UK (2017)
  • Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2016 & 17)
  • Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK (2016)
  • Whitstable Biennial, UK (2014)
  • Camden Arts Centre, London, UK and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2013)
  • W139, Amsterdam and De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium (2012).

A Churchill Fellow, Wilson was awarded the inaugural Jerwood New Work Fund 2020, the Dover Prize 2021 and will be undertaking a Fellowship with the V&A Museum in 2024. [External link]

All that's not shared will be lost, Leanne Jackson

Saturday 4 November - Wednesday 13 December 2023

We are delighted to welcome new work by artist Leanne Jackson to the gallery in Darlington Library, their statement on this exhibition is shown below:

I’ve never been particularly interested in big historical events. I am, however, interested in what an advert for Fairy looked like in 1942 or reading a critic’s review for The Everly Brothers’ debut record. My collection of magazines, books, knitting patterns and discarded photos from the 1930s-1960s provide an everyday window to another world, one that is just out of reach and one that I’ve been fascinated with from childhood.

I use as many clippings from my collection as I can in my work, repurposing images that would otherwise be lost, never to be seen again. Those magazines I can’t bare to cut are scanned and either printed or manipulated digitally, blending together the old with the new.

This exhibition pulls together three years of work. Exploring themes ranging from femininity, and relationships to loneliness and ageing.

Everything seems so familiar, yet different.

More of Leanne’s work can be seen on Instagram @almamatterscollages

Splendour of Steam

Saturday 9 September - Thursday 2 November 2023

An exhibition of paintings by artist Stephen Bainbridge in acrylic and watercolour depicting the golden age of steam power on Britain’s railways, combining accuracy and atmosphere.

Stephen is 74 years old and was born in Leicester. He taught in Buckinghamshire for thirty-six years before retiring to the North, moving to Newton Aycliffe, where he now lives with his wife Shelagh.

Stephen has worked in the acrylic medium for forty years, initially developing techniques under the tutelage of the professional artist Noel Gregory. His paintings have also featured in magazines and have been used in historical text books. As a lifelong admirer of Sir Nigel Gresley and the LNER many of the works reflect this, together with the appreciation of Sir William Stanier and the LMS.

He is a member of the, the LNER Society, The A1 Group and The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Group. Stephen is also a member of the North York Moors Railway and the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

He has recently completed studies of the P2 2007 ‘Prince of Wales’, currently under construction at Darlington for the P2 Group and painting ‘The Great Goodbye, the gathering of the six remaining A4s at Shildon which ‘Locomotion’ produced as a limited-edition print.

Bethan Maddocks, Making the Cut

Darlington Library Gallery
Monday 22 November - Thursday 16 December 2021

Photo credit: Bec Hughes


Presented with thanks to The Dover Prize

Explore giant ladders, paper leaves and open books in this presentation of new work that celebrates the forests and trees of County Durham.

Making the Cut will share Bethan’s experiments with hand and machine cutting to present a series of sculptures and explorations in paper, Perspex and metal.

Artist Bethan Maddocks, winner of The Dover Prize 2019, works with light, paper, fabric and found objects to make sculptures and installations that audiences can touch, explore or add to.

During the last two years she has explored new technologies in paper cutting and paper sculpting techniques, to create a series of work and exhibitions developed with support from The Dover Prize

Having aimed to work closely with the community in 2020, Bethan shifted the focus of this work to instead reflect the landscapes and forests that both shaped the heritage and industry of County Durham and provided a salve of respite for the community in recent challenging times.

The Dover Prize is a 2-year bursary awarded to an artist to provide them with time to think, research, reflect and experiment with new ideas to create work premiered in Darlington. [external link]

Glacial Plains

An exhibition by Darlington Association of Photographers

Monday 27 September - Wednesday 17 November 2021

Exhibition open 10am - 4pm from Monday to Friday between these dates

Glacial plains exhibition image 1
Glacial plains exhibition image 2
Glacial plains exhibition image 3
Glacial plains exhibition image 4
Glacial plains exhibition image 5
Glacial plains exhibition image 6

A Dialogue with Age, Dawn Broughton

Monday 2 August  2021 - Thursday 23 September 2021

This series of acrylic paintings was 18 months in the making and intended to be a celebration of age. It aims to depict older people in a strong and positive light with a mixture of part and full-face portraits which vary in size with some of commanding scale.

The artist's intention is that each person portrayed is looking directly at the viewer as she feels the eyes can and do say as much as the spoken word

'Each of the people portrayed have lived long lives with the outcomes written for all to see like a chapter in a book. It was my intention to paint them honestly, as each wrinkle represents all those moments of happiness, sadness, worry and joy and they should be celebrated rather than hidden.

By painting each person, in full or part, the aim is to open a dialogue between them and the viewer and by painting the backgrounds dark, the sitter can only be seen as they are now with no distractions and even their glasses have been removed so that every obstacle to their gaze is torn down.'

Dawn Broughton.

The exhibition secured a range of positive comments, a selection of which are shown below:

  • 'Striking work! Highly impressive!'
  • 'Stunning, superb, memorable'
  • 'Fantastic subject well portrayed!!
  • 'Amazing work, full of detail and feeling
Dawn Broughton artwork 1
Dawn Broughton artwork 2
Dawn Broughton artwork 3
Dawn Broughton artwork 4
Dawn Broughton artwork 5

Jonny Lancaster - Solo Exhibition

Saturday 7 March 2020 - Thursday 29 July 2021

Jonny Lancaster's exhibition has been in situ for over a year in the gallery at Darlington Library, but has only been available to the public for a couple weeks in March 2020 to date.

We're delighted to be reopening the exhibition, which can be visited between 10am and 4pm daily from Monday to Friday.  Please note are asking people who want to visit the exhibition to provide contact information and to  wear face masks while visiting the exhibition.

Inspired by the vintage travel posters of the early to mid twentieth century, local artist Jonny Lancaster designs fresh contemporary prints based on locations in the North East.

Jonny endeavours to capture the beauty of the places on our own doorstep and also to have fun with local landmarks and sayings. Two of his most successful prints are his ‘Monte Darlo’ and ‘Meet me under the town clock’ designs.

If you’ve lived in Darlington, you’ve probably arranged to meet someone under our famous timekeeper! And chances are you’ve referred to the town as Monte Darlo!

This exhibition will showcase these prints as well as preparatory paintings and drawings.

Follow The Poster Parlour on Instagram (@theposterparlour) and Facebook (The Poster Parlour).

"I'm delighted that my exhibition will be reopening and also that Crown Street Gallery, an important landmark in Darlington's cultural landscape, will once again be playing host to regular exhibitions of local artist's work.  The digital world has been a great comfort and important tool for the arts during the past year or so but it's going to be wonderful to actually stand in front of a picture again." - Jonny Lancaster

Darlington Borough Council thanks Darlington Cultural Volunteers for their time and expertise welcoming visitors to the gallery and Jonny Lancaster's exhibition between 21 June 2021 and 29 July 2021.

Jonny Lancaster - Meet me under the clock artwork
Jonny Lancaster - Monte Darlo artwork
Jonny Lancaster - South Park artwork
Jonny Lancaster at the gallery

Darlington Society of Arts

Saturday 11 January 2020 - Thursday 5 March 2020

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.  This was the sixth exhibition Darlington Society of Arts has held in the gallery at Darlington Library since 2013, all of which have been warmly received.  This exhibition generated a number of sales and attracted positive comments including:

"Very impressed by the standard.  Excellent display of skills."

"Really enjoyed this exhibition, wide variety of work all carried out with great skill."

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 Society exhibit on a regular basis, which 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 their upcoming workshops.

Further information including contact details can be found on the Darlington society of arts website [external link]

Darlington society of arts logo


Helen Winthorpe-Kendrick

Saturday 2 November 2019 - Thursday 9 January 2020

Embroidered artwork, middle earth
Embroidered artwork, tyne sunset
Embroidered artwork, ripples in time

Bridging the gap’ is an expression frequently used in many different circumstances.
Bridging the gap between:

  • standards and achievement
  • the poor and the rich
  • the minorities and the mass population
  • different cultures
  • one hill and another
  • earth to the planets beyond

There is seldom one answer that suits all. This exhibition looks at the many and diverse ways in which bridges can be built, both physically and metaphorically. [external link]

An opening event was held in the gallery on Saturday 2 November 2019 including a short talk about the exhibition at 12.30pm  which drew a great audience

Christian Mieves, No in-between

Tuesday 22 - Wednesday 30 October 2019

The everyday processes by which surfaces are worn down, thinned or marked, puts a particular focus on visual materiality. Material in its different conditions and formations has here a particular unstable character, defined as on-going process, shifting, disappearing and distancing.

The exhibition explores the idea of erosion, collapse, constant change imposed on everyday objects and environments. The paintings in this exhibition deal with a slippery setting, endless ambiguities and its productive potential. In this instability, bodies seem to dissolve and images to disintegrate, leaving the viewer with a sense of ‘no pauses, no in-between’. Spaces and objects are bound to collapse, yet simultaneously something new emerges. The work contests assumptions of agency, control, and in more general terms, visibility. This underlines the nature of painting practice of being in and between processes, of testing and reflecting, and shaping states of change.

A Christian Mieves in conversation with Matthew Hearn event was held on Thursday 24 November 2019, and attracted new visitors to the gallery, with a great discussion around the exhibition and aspects of painting.  The No In-Between programme was part of Conversations in Painting: Fiesta MK2 [external link]

Christian Mieves artwork 1


Christian Mieves is painter based in the North East of England. His paintings have been shown at exhibitions in Germany, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. He has published articles in academic journals on issues of exoticism, heterotopias and the beach.

For further information see: [external link]
Contact: [email protected]

Christian Mieves artwork 2

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.

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.

artists photo, black and white
photo of a menu and restaurant mascot

Darlington Mind Art and Creative Crafts Group Exhibition

Saturday 5 October 2019 - Saturday 19 October 2019

Mind Art piece 1
Mind Art piece 2
Mind Art piece 3

This exhibition is programmed to coincide with World Mental Health Day. Darlington Mind Art and Creative Crafts Group is a safe and supportive environment where people with mental health issues can go to rediscover old talents and learn, develop and explore new skills; to express themselves creatively. It is also a place to go, to make friends and escape the loneliness and isolation that can be experienced. It is a place participants come to have a laugh, a chat and find a voice in. The Group promotes confidence building and practice self-sufficiency and resilience. It is somewhere participants are comfortable and free from judgement so they can open up to find their true selves. Although participants still have their issues, they are able to lead a better and happier life thanks to support of the Darlington Mind Art and Creative Crafts Group. Some work in the exhibition is for sale.

For further information contact:

Darlington Mind Ltd,
St Hildas House,
11 Borough Road,
DL1 1SQ,

or telephone 01325 283169

Darlington Mind website [external link

Mind logo
Mind Art piece 4

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