On 13th July 2012 it will be ten years since the opening of BALTIC of which Alan J Smith OBE DL was the Founding Chairman. Alan was always sure the project would be a massive success and 1m visitors in year 1 gave significant credibility to that belief. Over the ten years there have been over 4.5m visitors to exhibitions by the big guns of the art world including several Turner Prize winners and many well know international artists.
BALTIC has now become what Alan often referred to as the Third Place – a place which is neither work nor home, where people can engage with a stimulating intellectual environment and where the edges between learning and leisure, education and entertainment, are blurred. It is a place where people are excited and have fun, even although on occasion they may be challenged to the point of being angry at the content within. We wish the excellent team at BALTIC continued success for the next ten years and beyond.
BALTIC provides that intellectual Pantheon to where people gravitate before or after work, simply to be there and BALTIC has brought a new dimension to people”s perception of the visual arts and the complex relationship between art and education. It is about what you experience when you engage with the world of contemporary art, and it puts pressure on your every emotion, BALTIC has not only been a standalone success but instead a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of Gateshead Quays and something which we as architects have learned lessons from and have been able to take the experience to other parts of the world, in particular to riverside developments in China.