Special art exhibition to mark 25th anniversary of South Shields gallery

Artists have been inspired by The Customs House and its 25th anniversary celebrations in a new exhibition gracing its main gallery space.

Monday, 25th February 2019, 5:00 am

The Customs House 25th Anniversary Open Exhibition, which runs until April 21, 2019, showcases the work of local artists over the age of 25.

They were asked to submit work based on three themes – The Customs House, Silver or 25 – as the venue celebrates quarter of a century as an arts venue in 2019.

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Emma Gosling, from South Shields, is one of the featured artists. She runs Emma Gosling Art, offering hand-drawn illustrations for greetings cards and wedding stationery, as well as working part-time as a teacher.

She said: “I used ink to create a drawing of the stunning building that is The Customs House, which I feel is such a gorgeous hidden gem in South Shields.

“I hope that the public appreciate the simplicity and strength of my piece, as well as this gorgeous landmark on their doorstep”

Gail Curry, who runs Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC in Whitley Bay, submitted an abstract acrylic painting in shades of blue, with silver leaf, which was inspired by a trip to Holy Island and the calm sea and sky.

She has only recently taken up painting and uses ‘whatever she has lying around’ rather than brushes to apply the paint and create texture, such as bank cards and cardboard.

She also uses gold, silver and bronze leaf to represent people.

She said: “I was actually a reluctant painter, but now it is all I want to do! I paint whatever I feel and I’m normally two thirds of the way through before the final image forms.”

Other works have been inspired by The Customs House pantomime and past productions,such as Follow the Herring, with a wide range of media used.


Fiona Martin, Deputy Director – learning and participation at the Mill Dam site said: “This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our special year and we are delighted with the responses we received to the brief.”

The Customs House is also showcasing the work of freelance illustrator Emma Garrod, of Eye Illustrate, in The Upper Fusion Gallery, until April 21, 2019.

It features animals, icons, local scenes and popular culture, all of which are for sale, and is the Newcastle native’s first solo exhibition in an arts centre in the north east.

Elizabeth Kane, Learning Officer at The Customs House, said: “Emma is a fantastic illustrator. Her work is really relatable and sensitively drawn.”