I decided to write this blog as I would like to tell people more about what we do, day to day, running an art gallery in Gateshead. A lot of the time it is a bit like putting on a play for an audience; things look polished and effortless (we hope!) but there is a lot of running around behind the scenes.

I thought it would be good to start by looking at what the team are working on at the moment and then provide some insights into our day today.

It’s the summer holidays and this means a lot of visits from families and plenty of children in the Gallery. We enjoy this time as it is a good opportunity to show how friendly the Shipley can be. Earlier in the year the learning team here decide what activities to run during the school holidays. We always put on two days of activities each week so during the summer we develop 12 different sessions. Sometimes we pay artists to run the activities for us and other times- like today- the learning team manage themselves. Today we’ve had lots of children in customising t-shirts. There are plenty of hearts, flowers and coloured ribbon being attached to old tops and learning to sew on buttons has become a good skill for the day!

Downstairs in the office our curatorial and exhibitions staff are working on the programme for the next year. Today the focus is on the Shipley Lates and the exhibition we hope to show from January 2011. We programme the exhibitions at least two years in advance, making sure the slots are filled with shows that will bring in a range of visitors and plenty of opportunities for events and schools. Managing the Lates programme is like adding another exhibition into the schedule. Yesterday we talked about the Lates event on 27 August where we are hoping to have live sheep and Woolympic games!

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