Newcastle: an artist’s city?

The North East of England is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, from the stunning wilderness of Northumberland to the incredible beaches and scenic city parks.

For artists and prospective art students, Newcastle is a true gem of the north. With landmarks like the Laing Art Gallery, Sage Arts Centre, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Literary and Philosophical Society, the city is an incredible place for potential future artists to study. Not convinced? Here are just a few of the reasons to head up North…

Newcastle University
A traditional ‘red brick’ university that has a lively arts scene, Newcastle offers all the prestige of a traditional university with a fantastic reputation for contemporary art. The art school at the university has been around since 1838, offering students a multitude of generational knowledge that has been passed down through the institution. Lecturers and teachers are practising artists who have their studios in the university itself.

If you’d like to study in an established university but push the boundaries and challenge orthodox convention to find a more creative you, Newcastle might be the best choice you’ll ever make. They also have amazing socials, stellar student accommodation and a beautiful campus. Here are just some of the courses that might appeal to the artistic types.

  • Music From undergraduate to postgraduate courses, musicians will find themselves in esteemed company at Newcastle.
  • Fine Art Students who want to study fine art and art theory, enhance their creative skills and rub shoulders with established artists will love the fine art course at Newcastle.
  • Architecture A BA course that has consistently won a place in top 10 lists, Architecture at Newcastle is perfect for potential future building designers. The Georgian and New Gothic architecture of the city itself will lend plenty of inspiration!

Northumbria University
A vibrant and award-winning former polytechnic university, Northumbria is a great place to harness your creative energies. It is also locatred in the heart of Newcastle city centre, bringing all the bonuses of the area to your studies. Thanks to leading courses in theatre and graphic design, the university caters for artists of all types.
Friendly rivalry with Newcastle University aside, Northumbria has its own merits and offers lots to art students for instance, 95% of all graduates from all three of Northumbria’s performing arts undergraduate programmes are in work or further study six months after graduating. Some of the courses you can find at Northumbria include:

  • Drama An undergraduate honours course that is perfect for aspiring actors, scriptwriters and theatre enthusiasts, the Drama BA at Northumbria offers specialist pathways to ensure you can advance in the area you want to work in.
  • Graphic Design Love typography, design and ideas? Graphic Design at Northumbria allows you to harness digital talent and become a branding master. With a 3-year, full-time course that scores a 96% satisfaction rate, you can’t really go wrong if you’d like to build a career in design.

Newcastle College
While a college may not be the ideal place to study for some undergraduates, younger artists and those seeking alternative courses will love the versatility of Newcastle College. Rapidly gaining a reputation for excellence, the college offers student accommodation and university-level courses without the ‘university’ tag.
To get a start in the art world, Newcastle College offers an amazing platform.

  • Photography For future full-time snappers, this is the course to complete, offering study tours, seminars and work-based learning.
  • Graphic Design and Illustration A year long course that gives you an alternate to A Levels with more work-based learning, this is the course for aspiring designers.
  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design any aspiring artist who wants a practical way into university should go for this course, which lets you experiment as you learn.

Things to inspire
Not only is Newcastle one of the UK’s best cities thanks to its educational establishments, it’s also got a swathe of locations and attractions that will inspire artists, such as the following:

  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art A converted mill offering temporary art installations that push the boundaries of creativity, the BALTIC is free to visit and works in close collaboration with the universities. Situated on the modern and spellbinding quayside, the BALTIC is worth a visit for any artist.
baltic centre for contemporary art

baltic centre for contemporary art

  • Laing Art Gallery If you like your art more traditional, the Laing art gallery in the city centre offers 18th-20th century watercolours and paintings that will inspire you.
  • Theatre Royal A Grade 1 listed building that is a wonder in itself, the Theatre Royal regularly hosts leading performances that potential actors and script writers will adore.
  • Grey Street The home of the Theatre Royal, Grey Street was voted the finest street in Britain. For architects and artists, the Grade I and Grade II listed buildings that flood the area will capture the imagination. There are some exceptional bars and restaurants on the street too always a bonus!
  • Northumberland Just north of Newcastle sits one of the UK’s most untouched national parks, Northumberland. Full of countryside aplenty and Kielder Water, the area is a stunning wilderness that could inspire your art.
  • Sage Gateshead Situated across the Quayside, just a short walk over the amazing bridges that straddle the Tyne, the Sage Gateshead is a concert venue and centre for musical education that will inspire you from with everything from its appearance to its events.
  • Literary and Philosophical Society Whether you’re an aspiring writer or want to be surrounded by magnificent literature dating back to the 1500s, the Lit & Phil has been around since 1825 and is free to visit. Take a look around the UK’s largest independent library outside of London.

To put things simply, Newcastle is a city designed for artists. With stellar facilities and education on offer in a setting that can become anyone’s muse, you’re well placed to start life as a professional artist by making Newcastle your place of study.

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