Created in partnership with Dr Robert McManners OBE and Gillian Wales, the new Mining Art Gallery will provide a permanent home for the renowned Gemini Collection of Mining Art, which includes more than 420 works by prominent local artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish.
Using this powerful imagery the site will help visitors to understand what it felt like to work in the coalmines and shed light on why some miners felt it necessary to paint the dark, clamorous, claustrophobic and arcane world, otherwise denied to the gaze of those above ground.
As well as preserving a vital aspect of coalfield heritage for future study and appreciation, the Mining Art Gallery will also offer a wide range of opportunities to explore the history of mining and the impact it had, not just on those who worked there, but on the County Durham community as a whole.
The Auckland Project is currently developing a programme of educational activities and community events to help the region’s residents engage with this heritage and have offered a number of volunteering opportunities within the gallery.
The Mining Art Gallery is supported by The Gemini Collection, County Durham Community Foundation, Dr Robert McManners and Stefa McManners, Durham County Council, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Banks Community Fund, Bishop Auckland and Shildon Area Action Partnership, The Sir John Priestman Charity Trust.
Image credits: Gillian Wales and Dr Robert McManners OBE, founders of the Gemini Collection, show some of their works to The Auckland Project’s Curatorial Director, Dr Chris Ferguson and Curator, Sara Fortune. Picture by Barry Pells, courtesy of Auckland Castle Trust.
Bottom right- Tom Lamb, Take Five.
If you’re interested in viewing more Mining Art in the local area, the Bob Abley Art Gallery at Spennymoor Town Hall, hosts a large, permanent collection of Norman Cornish art. http://www.spennymoor-tc.gov.uk/art-gallery/