Local Art and Artists
Information for teachers
Art has an important and unique place in our lives. It can move and inspire us; be beautiful, intriguing, baffling; it can document people, places and events, fire imaginations, spark curiosity and provoke questions. This can be especially valuable for children, offering different perspectives on the world around them and providing creative opportunities to explore and express their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.
The Tees Valley has a long and rich art history, stretching back over the last century and beyond. Over time, local artists and artworks have been continually inspired and influenced by the region’s unique people and places, its proud mining and industrial heritage, and by its close proximity to the sea. More recently, art has been a central feature of investment and regeneration initiatives, with the opening of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) and commissioning of public artworks. It continues to inspire and support a thriving arts community today.
Some works, such as Margaret Shield’s Red Bus, provide an almost documentary record of the changing urban landscape, reflected through the eyes of a local, born and bred in Teesside. Industrial artists like Tom McGuinness and David Watson present a personal window into the region’s mining communities, shipyards and steelworks, capturing not only what it looked like, but how it felt to be part of that world. Others, such as Margaret Green and Frank Henry Mason, capture the very different moods and views of the coast, from a sunny day out at the beach to a daring rescue in the North Sea, while Glynn Porteous brings the everyday to life, through two girls on a train journey to Redcar.
Contemporary artists, like Nigel Dobbyn, Helen Gaunt and Derek Mosey have interpreted the Tees Valley’s extraordinary history through colourful comic illustrations and mosaics. Others, like Annie O’Donnell, and Deb Covell, and the region’s young film makers have used their art to explore strong themes of personal and local identity and place.
And, just as the Tees Valley has shaped and influenced a diverse range of artists, so artists are now shaping the region. Public artworks like the Bottle of Notes and Temonos in Middlesbrough, and Train in Darlington have become part of the landscape. They have joined the region’s bridges and buildings as recognisable landmarks and been part of its regeneration.
The art and artists of the Tees Valley, past and present, paint a vivid picture of the region. Together they depict a vibrant, beloved place with a proud heritage, creativity, warmth, resilience and strength of character at its heart.