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The Great North Reopening: how Newcastle art galleries will be adapting to the ‘new normal’

Written by Arts, Culture, Exhibitions

Newcastle’s wonderful art galleries have been closed ever since the nation went into lockdown back in March due to the pandemic. Months later, after closely following Government guidelines, many are ready to reopen their doors to customers, with some necessary changes in place, so that their exhibitions are COVID – secure environments.

Here’s the rundown on what local galleries are reopening, when they’re reopening, and what to expect when they reopen:

Laing Art Gallery

Credit: Peter Reed

The Laing Art Gallery will reopen to the public on Monday 10 August. When the gallery reopens, visitors will be able to see the new exhibition, William and Evelyn De Morgan: Two of the Rarest Spirits of the Age, which had only been open for two days before the gallery closed due to government restrictions. The exhibition will now be on show from 10 August to 26 September 2020.

Julie Milne, Chief Curator of Art Galleries at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “When people visit the gallery they will notice quite a few changes. For example, you will see new signage marking a one-way route around the gallery, we’re carrying out extra cleaning, and we will be collecting visitor information to share with NHS Test and Trace if necessary.”  Furthermore, the wearing of masks upon entering and pre-booking tickets will now be mandatory.

“When people visit the gallery they will notice quite a few changes. For example, you will see new signage marking a one-way route around the gallery, we’re carrying out extra cleaning, and we will be collecting visitor information to share with NHS Test and Trace if necessary.”

– Julie Milne

BALTIC

Along with the Laing, the BALTIC Centre will be reopening on Monday 10 August and will also be seeing some necessary changes. To begin, only the Ground Floor gallery will be open where you can visit the Abel Rodríguez exhibition, as well as BALTIC Shop and BALTIC Kitchen. Upon visiting, you now must wear a face covering and provide contact details to aid the NHS Test and Trace service.

Furthermore, visitors must now book free tickets in advance for an allocated time slot which at the moment, are only available for the first two weeks; Monday 10 August – Sunday 23 August and are available Monday-Sunday, 10.30-18.00.

Biscuit Factory

Credit: The Biscuit Factory

Independent art gallery, Biscuit Factory, along with its café, reopened on Saturday 1 August and will now be open Wednesday – Sunday 10am-5pm.

Upon reopening, cash payments will now be forbidden, wearing masks will be mandatory, and social distancing measures will be in place, including a one-way system to help minimise the risk of transmitting the deadly virus. Visitors will also be expected to provide contact details for NHS Track and Trace efforts.

Hatton Gallery

According to their latest update on 6 July, Hatton Gallery is, unfortunately, remaining closed until further notice yet is hoping to reopen in Autumn. Despite this, their website currently features an ‘Activities you can do at home’ page, that include many artistic learning activities such as DIY postcards keeps kids and adults alike busy and creative while in isolation.

Featured Image: Abel Rodriguez | BalticArt

Last modified: 11th August 2020

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