We were five years old on Thursday July 21st and a lot has been happening. The Blyth Tall Ships Regatta takes place during the bank holiday weekend in August and we have been working hard to complement this with a Fringe event in Newbiggin which we hope will become an Annual Maritime event. Further details of what is involved (and there is a lot) appear on the Events pages. If this is successful we will have two festivals a year from next year - the Kite Festival at Easter and the Maritime Festival at August Bank Holiday weekend.
We started the Latimer Gallery in April. We now hope to show exhibitions of art in the Latimer Room which will be available to the public when there are no functions in progress. Our aim is to maintain a high standard of contemporary art by inviting artists of known calibre to exhibit with us for three months at a time. We are now on the second exhibition (details available on the Exhibition pages) and are pleased that the artists exhibiting so far have provided the opportunity to "Meet The Artist". We are evolving a programme that now stretches until July 2017. Exhibitions in the Breakwater Café continue of course.
We have also come to the attention of 'ArtMag' and 'The Crack' which is producing an article on the Newbiggin Art Trail which starts at the Maritime Centre.
We have introduced "The Hidden Gallery" which is currently displaying ceramic pieces celebrating Mary Joicey and the pieces concerning Jonathan Livingston Seagull that were originally in the Latimer Room when we opened five years ago . We are also in the process of installing the two ceramic panels that were made by pupils of Windsor First School in 2008 and were retrieved from the school before its recent demolition. The "Hidden Gallery" is a display area outside in the Courtyard for which we have plans to tidy up with paving stones.
The recent Pokemon phenomenon has resulted in us receiving more attention since we are featured prominently in it!
We have continued to arrange a programme of music events with an eclectic collection of gigs and a fortnightly 'Buskers' Night' and these have been well supported.
Since 'Highlights' lost most of its funding we have been unable to continue our programme of drama events and the annual crafts exhibition. We hope the new exhibitions in the Latimer Room will go some way to compensating for this. But we are starting a new programme of drama and dance events beginning in November and continuing into next year. If these are well supported we hope to expand the programme.
We are continuing to upgrade the displays in the museum galleries and new display cabinets have been ordered so that we can show smaller items that are currently in storage without causing a security problem.
An Operations Manager, our Café staff, an Administrator and a Bookkeeper are employed by Newbiggin Maritime Centre which is the operating company of Newbiggin Heritage Partnership who own the building. Everybody else are volunteers!! We are always looking for new volunteers to spread the load of a not inconsiderable amount of work required to maintain successful functioning of the Maritime Centre. If you think you have the commitment and skills to contribute to our volunteer team and would like to help please get in touch. We need new young blood!