Angel of the North creator Antony Gormley and Baltic founders Sune Nordgren and Alan J Smith were honoured at a ceremony at the Baltic Gateshead, for their services to the arts.
A Northumbrian Piper lead the procession into the Events Space at the Baltic before all three signed the Roll of Honorary Freeman of the Borough.
Alan, who was nominated for his distinguished services to culture, architecture and development regionally, nationally and internationally and in particular, his exceptional role as the first Chairman of the Baltic Trust, said “It was a very proud moment and a real honour, but it’s not just about me but the people who I have worked with.”
As, founding chair of the Baltic, Alan established North East based architectural practice redboxdesign group and spent five years on the Board of Northern Arts.
Alan becomes one of only 20 people to be granted the 15th Century title of Honorary Freeman of Gateshead since the borough was formed in 1835.
The honour dates back to the laws of ancient Rome, when it was a capital offence for Roman legions to enter the city in formation, or with weapons without permission. This was meant to ensure that ambitious generals did not mount a military coup against the Senate. Similar laws were passed by cities throughout the medieval era, also to protect civic security and rights, even against their own King”s troops.