Middlesbrough's arts and cultural scene is undergoing a renaissance which has largely been fueled by the opening of mima, Middlesbrough's stunning, contemporary new art gallery. Other developments, such as the groundbreaking Temenos project, are adding to the ongoing achievements of the town's arts community, underline Middlesbrough's spirit for innovation and creativity.
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima)
mima is one of the UK's leading galleries for modern and contemporary art and craft. The landmark building designed by Erick van Egeraat Architects is situated in the heart of Middlesbrough. mima opened to international critical acclaim in January 2007.
Hosting temporary exhibitions of fine art and craft from 1900 to the present, mima showcases work by internationally acclaimed artists. The programme includes painting, drawing, ceramics, jewellery, sound, film, mixed media, photography and sculpture.
The gallery brings together the town's art collections for the first time, from Middlesbrough Art Gallery and Cleveland Craft Centre. Selected works from the collection are showcased in an annual collection show.
Exhibitions change throughout the year and admission is free.
mima is part of Middlesbrough Council and is funded by Middlesbrough Council and Arts Council England. The building was realised with support from: One NorthEast, Government Office North East, Northern Rock Foundation and The Foyle Foundation.
- mima has attracted over £1.2 million of awards to help Middlesbrough build on its important collection of art
- mima has won awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Art Fund
- National partnership have been established with Tate and the Crafts Council and International partnerships are in place with the Drawing Center in New York and the National Museums of Berlin
- Over 9,000 children have taken pat in organised school visits to mima and over 400 events have been organised.
- Over 100 important works of art have been given to Middlesbrough since mima opened.
Watch mima in 3 minutes
Download: mima latest programme
Download: mima previous programmes
Captain Cook Birthplace Museum
The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum opened on the 28th October 1978 – the 250th anniversary of Cook’s birth. It is housed in a purpose-built building close to the granite urn marking the site of Cook’s birthplace cottage in Stewart Park, Marton, Middlesbrough.
The museum tells the story of one of the world’s greatest navigators and mariners through themed display galleries, temporary exhibitions, associated activities and events and a lively education programme.
There is full disabled access throughout and additional facilities such as the Discovery Room (education & activities), the Endeavour Room (meetings & events), the Resolution Resources Room (archive & research), gift/book shop, and a café.
Although the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum at Stewart Park is now closed until the spring, the cafe within the museum is still open offering a range of freshly prepared food including homemade cup cakes and freshly ground coffee.
Nana Tom’s cafe is also selling preserves and gift items, making it an ideal stop-off for a walk in the park, coffee and cake and a spot of Christmas shopping!
Nana Tom’s opening times are 10am to 3.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday (last orders 3.15pm). The café is closed on Mondays.
The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum will re-open fully in Spring 2012.
Download: Middlesbrough Museums What's On 2011
The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum links
The history of the region's geological, social and industrial heritage can be seen at the Dorman Museum. The museum opened to the public in 1904 and has on display the largest publicly-owned collection of Linthorpe Pottery as well as an amazing ornithological collection, perserved in its original Edwardian setting. Enjoy the great range of eight themed display galleries, full disabled access throughout and additional facilities such as café and education suite.
The museum is located next to Albert Park and the Cenotaph just off Linthorpe Road. Middlesbrough railway and bus stations are a 20 minute walk away on a mostly level route.
There are frequent buses 11,12,27 & 63 that travel along Linthorpe Road.
Parking is permitted on the street to the front and side of the museum.
Please use our postcode TS5 6LA to locate us using Sat Nav systems or route planner websites.
Download: Middlesbrough Museums What's On 2011
Dorman Musem Links
Temenos is the the £2.7m art installation that will form part of the largest art initiative in the world. One of a series of five 'Tees Valley Giants', Temenos is the first installation and is located at Middlehaven. It will cost cost 32.7m and will be a staggering 110m in length and almost 50m high.
Internatioally acclaimed sculptor Anish Kapoor and leading structural designer Cecil Balmond are responsible for bringing the project to fruition. The artist and engineer are known for the monumental scale of their work and are two of the most sought after names in the art world. Their works can be seen in prominent locations around the globe including New York, Chicago and Beijing.
The Making of Temenos: video
Bottle of Notes
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's monumental sculpture Bottle of Notes, which soars thirty feet high, alongside mima in Centre Square.
This is the first public sculpture in the United Kingdom by these two internationally renowned artists. It is made of steel painted with polyurethane enamel.
The tempered steel used in the sculpture echoes Middlesbrough's industrial heritage and the exterior text (in white) is a quotation from Captain Cook's journal describing an astronomer's observation aboard the ship: "We had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Sun's disk."
The inner text, in blue, is a prose poem by Coosje van Bruggen, "I like to remember seagulls in full flight gliding over the ring of canals."
Bottle of Notes link
Spectra-txt created by Peter Freeman was a major innovation in public art when it was installed in 2004.
Spectra-txt is a 10 metre high interactive column of light made for the centre of Middlesbrough. Fibre-optic and mirrored stainless steel create shimmering colours and spectacular reflections.
Interact with Spectra-txt by texting one of the following commands to this number: blue, starvibe, xxx, pearl, boro, chromapop to 07919 00 00 77. (Standard text message rates apply.)
The text can be altered from anywhere in the world. The column is partially inspired by Captain Cook's journey to Tahiti and so the very first text message sent to Spectra-txt came from Tahiti, 236 years to the day since Captain Cook's historic visit to the island.
Kandi Sky by sculptor Pierre Diamantopoulo provides a gateway arch to Middlesbrough College in Middlehaven.
It spans 22 metres and weighs 10 tonnes. It is made of brightly coloured shapes and figures balancing on six pillars almost 11 metres above the ground at the College’s Transporter Bridge entrance.
The artist explains,"The sculpture is a metaphor for the processes of discovery and learning: the throwing of ideas in the air, balancing of thoughts, the leverage of knowledge and the roller-coaster ride of experience, then the bounding energy of physical education and the performing arts."
Kandi Sky link
Platform Arts is a registered charity and provides affordable studio space for visual artists in the Tees Valley.
Platform Arts occupies newly constructed purpose built studios within Middlesbrough Railway Station, a Grade II listed building. Housed in the old British Rail Parcel Store and Fish Quay the latest addition to BOHO Middlesbrough's creative and cultural quarter is now open with 16 professional artists and craftspeople currently leasing studio spaces.
Artists within the new studios include contemporary painters, printmakers, sculptors and craftspeople.
Many of the self employed artists work on commissions and exhibit nationally and internationally whilst also facilitating community and educational projects both locally and nationally.
Platform Arts are proving that there is room for creative businesses to expand and grow, even in this tough economic climate. The demand for these new facilities from artists and craftspeople, confirms that Middlesbrough is a great place to both make and see contemporary art and craft.
Platform Arts link
Platform A Gallery
Founded as an extension to Platform Art Studios in 2011, Platform A is a gallery dedicated to innovative developments in contemporary art through its diverse programme of exhibitions. Newly located in the railway station of central Middlesbrough, Platform A represents emerging and established artists. The inaugural show ’FUZE’ opened 28th July 2011.
Launched in July 2007, the Python Gallery provides quality exhibition space with a rolling programme of shows and events. Located in the heart of the Middlehaven area of Middlesbrough, the gallery has an integral café bistro and entry is free.
The gallery was shortlisted for the community award in the prestigious 30th Arts and Business Awards at the Victoria and Albert Museum in November 2008.
In addition to events and exhibtions at the gallery they have developed the Art Work Placement Scheme to enable artists to exhibit works across the centre of Middlesbrough in buildings which wouldn’t normally be associated with art displays.
Python Gallery links
Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD)
Cleveland College of Art and Design is the top specialist further education Art and Design College in England according to figures published by the Government Department for Children, Schools and Families (2009).
Cleveland College of Art & Design has been lavished with praise by education watchdog Ofsted, following a thorough inspection of the opportunities it provides to more than 800 full-time students from across the North every year.
The college was hailed for its students’ academic achievements, the outstanding quality of its teaching, providing a rich and varied curriculum and meeting the needs of a diverse range of learners.
Previous students of CCAD include world renowned artist MacKenzie Thorpe and Hollywood film director Sir Ridley Scott, whose credits include Alien, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise and Blade Runner.
Cleveland College of Art and Design: video
We Are Open
Since December 2009 Middlesbrough has been leading the way in the Tees Valley by joining the international Pop Up Arts movement pioneered in the U.S.
We Are Open gives prime real estate space to artists, writers & musicians for temporary residencies. This programme brings unique, magical and ephemeral experiences to the high street.
Heightened activity and a brighter urban centre encourage renewed interest in the units that take part.
Current projects include a Pop Up Studio, Pop Up Gallery and Pop Up Arts Space with a rolling programme of events and happenings.
Download: We Are Open Brochure - Spring/Summer 2011
We Are Open links
Gallery TS1 is an art enterprise with creative shop, gallery and workspace, selling high quality, fresh & affordable arts and crafts by emerging and established local artists, designers and crafty types.
It is home to an arts apprenticeship scheme, encouraging and inspiring young people aged 16+, whilst they gain invaluable hands-on work experience and proven routes into training and employment.
Gallery TS1 and the apprenticeship scheme were initiated and are supported by Middlesbrough Council Culture and Tourism Services.
Do you want to join Gallery TS1 as an artist?
Gallery TS1 link
Transporter Bridge Limited Edition Art Available Now from Gallery TS1
Artists and their apprentices have collaborated to create two limited edition artworks that are sure to become part of local history.
The pieces are the result of the Gallery TS1 Arts Apprenticeship Scheme, a pioneering creative opportunity in which young people not in education, employment or training, work alongside artists to create saleable artworks.
Over a two-week period, the apprentices worked with the artists to produce an unusual iron cast of the Transporter’s controller and handmade resin casts from cogs on the iconic structure.
Adam explained: “We walked over the Transporter Bridge to get a feeling for the structure and its history, but also to make small clay impressions of aesthetic parts of the bridge that would give a good definition, would tell a story and reflect on the bridge’s engineering and industrial heritage.”
Plaster castings of the clay impressions were produced, from which the apprentices chose a pattern produced from the Transporter’s old controller, which operated the bridge for 99 years until its replacement last year.
The finished pieces were cast in iron by Middlesbrough’s William Lane Foundry, once one of 140 local foundries but now the only one still in operation and based close to the Transporter itself.
The apprentices also worked with Vicky and creative writer Laura Degnan to create the resin-cast relief sculpture inspired by the Transporter blue and the structure’s centenary.
Vicky said: “The cable wheels, which feature in the design, represent the 'heart' of the bridge, taking people across the river for 100 years. The scroll-like element of the sculpture stems from a commemorative theme as well as traditional tattoo designs that influenced the apprentices.”
“The limited editions are history and art in one,” added Adam. “Producing them was a wonderful experience for the young people and I think one or two of them have the talent to become artists in their own right.”
All of the limited edition artwork is available from the TS1 Gallery opposite the Empire night club on Corporation Road, the Town Hall Box Office and the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre. The iron and resin casts are £40 each, while the plates are £80.
The internationally renowned artist, creating sculptures and acclaimed paintings was brought up in Middlesbrough and is a former student of Cleveland College of Art and Design.
Download: Exhibition flyer from his exhibition at Teesside University
Mackenzie Thorpe exhibition at Teesside University took place 3-29 October 2011 at the Constantine Gallery in Middlesbrough Tower. Open Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM through October 2011. Mackenzie Thorpe was on hand to meet members of the public on Saturday 8 October, from 11.00am - 4.00pm. It's a chance to talk to the artist himself and ask him directly about his work and his influences.
Mackenzie Thorpe link
mima. credit: Michael Baister; Temenos. credit: Stephen Gray; Bottle of Notes. credit: Mike Kipling;
Spectra-txt. credit: Mike Kipling; Kandi Sky. credit: Yaffa Phillips; Platform Arts. credit: Michael Baister;
Python Gallery. credit: Python Gallery