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Harrison Flagpoles Partners with Baltic to Help Artists Fly High as Gateshead Gallery Reopens its Doors

22nd Jun 2021
By sarah-jane grainger |
Flagpoles |

Newton Aycliffe-based Harrison Flagpoles has partnered with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead to install a custom flagpole and help the venue champion local artists through its Open Submission project.

The business originally installed an eight-metre flagpole on the roof of BALTIC as part of the Great Exhibition of the North in 2017.

Harrison Flagpoles has now recommissioned the marine grade stainless steel flagpole as part of BALTIC’s Open Submission exhibition, which is running at the centre for contemporary art from May 19 to September 5.

The flagpole displays a work by Lady Kitt, one of the Open Submission’s three judges. Entitled Open. Bloom. Flourish. Nourish. the flag artwork is inspired by Lady Kitt’s collaboration with deaf performer Colly Metcalf. Three pairs of hands made of brown, 3D paper create three stages of the British Sign Language sign for “Bloom”.

BALTIC launched an open call last summer for art submissions from people of all abilities, based in the North East of England, which received more than 500 entries. 158 works were selected for inclusion in the exhibition.

From April this year, reproductions of 43 of these artwork submissions were put on show in outdoor areas and transport networks across Gateshead and Newcastle ahead of the BALTIC reopening on May 19. The full exhibition featuring all 158 works is now available for visitors to view.

Sarah Munro, BALTIC director, said: “We’re tremendously excited to welcome the public back into BALTIC to view our fantastic Open Submission exhibition in full.

“We’ve been able to give people a taste of the exhibition by placing artwork across Newcastle and Gateshead. That has included working once again with Harrison Flagpoles to recommission BALTIC’s rooftop flagpole, so that we’re able to showcase a powerful artwork from Lady Kitt – one of the three judges of the open submission project.

“We’ve all been looking forward to re-opening our gallery and vital civic space to the visitors and communities. We have missed so much and sharing moments of reconnection.”

Each year, BALTIC ordinarily welcomes 450,000 visitors but had remained closed since early November due to Coronavirus restrictions. Located on Gateshead quayside, the centre exists to create and produce exhibitions, events and learning opportunities. They explore the role of artists from across the world, with entry always provided free of charge.

Harrison Flagpoles sales and marketing director, Anthony Leonard, said: “We are really pleased to have been able to work with the team at BALTIC again to recommission the custom flagpole we installed in 2017 so it could be used as part of the centre’s Open Submission exhibition.

“The roof of BALTIC is actually 42 metres high, so when we first completed the installation, we needed to create a bespoke solution to allow a flagpole to be installed which was robust enough to withstand windspeeds of up to 80 mph.

“Now we’ve recommissioned the flagpole. It’s great to see it being used to showcase local artwork as part of a fantastic campaign. We’re looking forward to seeing it flying the flag for BALTIC for years to come.”

Founded in 1987, Harrison Flagpoles is the UK’s only independent manufacturer of glassfibre flagpoles. The business operates nationally and internationally from its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Harrison Flagpoles serves the housebuilder, construction, automotive, retail, hospitality, leisure and public sectors.

Free tickets can be booked in advance to visit BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

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