Newcastle's BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has no permanent exhibitions, instead the broad open spaces house an ever-changing collection of modern, often eclectic works.
Parts of the older building, originally a flour mill, were retained in the 1998 redevelopment, and the BALTIC is now a clean and imposing six-stories. It sits on the southern ban of the river Tyne, just a few minutes' walk from Manors Metro Station, over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Entry is free, though a £5 donation is requested. Like all worthwhile galleries, the gift shop is completely fantastic, with a huge range of cards, gifts, and original works. I know I'm not alone in recommending the BALTIC - early this year the gallery saw its six millionth visitor pass through the broad doors, with many more to come.
When I visited there were works by Brian Griffiths, B. Wurtz, Alice Theobald and Atomik Architecture, and Hannah Collins. The no doubt deeper meaning imbued in the installation by Alice Theobald and Atomik Architecture went flying clear over my head, with padded walls and painted-on scrawls of "it's not who you are it's how you are. How are you?" relentlessly repeated and echoed by hidden speakers, with a backing of looping, tinny piano. It confused me.
I better enjoyed the works of B. Wurtz, whose collection of painted and re-arranged 'everyday objects' made pretty shapes in the white rooms. The description on the outer wall described his art as 'offering a new way to see what we're already looking at.'
On the fifth floor the outside is framed as a work itself, in the form of a viewing room with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the River Tyne. Finally, not to be missed is the single permanent fixture in the gallery - though not in the gallery rooms but the stairwell. Two enormous mirrors, one on the lower floor and one of the ceiling of the highest, give the impression of a never-ending stairwell - I was pleased to take the lift instead on the way down!