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The Angel of the North


The Angel of the North is a sculpture made from cor-ten steel by the artist Antony Gormley, situated beside the A1 in Gateshead in the North East of England.  It was conceived as a landmark sculpture to mark the approach into Gateshead and the site of the former Teams Colliery, by Gateshead Council.

         The Public Art programme in Gateshead

The contribution of artists to the built environment is one of the keys to ‘attractive, functional and flexible’ streets, buildings and public spaces.  Artworks and the role of the artist in this context, enhance the fabric of the urban framework, involving the public through the creative process, adding value and creating a sense of ownership.  Through the commissioning process, the work of artists should positively impact on social exclusion issues, create civic pride and improve the general quality of design.

Public art includes any art that is located in a publicly accessible space on a temporary or permanent basis.  It can be a single work of art in its own right, an integral part of the urban environment or treatment of a specific building within the built landscape.

Gateshead Council first became involved with Public Art in the early 1980s when they decided to take art to the public because it did not have its own contemporary art gallery.  The early works were so successful that in 1986 the formal Public Art Programme was launched. This programme was given a tremendous boost during the 1990 Garden Festival at Dunston, Gateshead with more than 70 temporary artworks on display.

Within Gateshead there are more than 50 major public artworks by leading artists, for example: ‘Cone’ by Andy Goldsworthy, situated on an old foundry site west of the High Level Bridge, ‘Opening Line’ by Danny Lane at Gateshead Bus and Metro Interchange and ‘Acceleration by John Creed opposite the Old Town Hall.  Most of these works have been funded from sources such as The Arts Council England, North East, Arts Council England (Lottery), One North East through the Single Regeneration Budget, The Town Centre Partnership and The East Gateshead Partnership.

The Public Art Programme has now gained national recognition and won a succession of prestigious awards for a dynamic and imaginative approach to commissioning art for public sites.  Artworks can be found in the streets, at Metro stations and on the riverside amongst other locations.  Each work has been individually designed for its specific site and many incorporate references to local history. The programme has attracted artists of national and international renown, and Gateshead now boasts an outstanding and

Public Art and The Angel of the North

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