Sunday, 30 March 2014

Art Pass

I know I've gone on about it before but we were talking this morning about the benefits of having a National Art Pass. We signed up for ours last summer when Dan decided he wanted to go to Bowes Museum to see the swan. The entry fee for Bowes was £9.50 each and the annual pass was £60 for both of us. Seemed like good value at the time. We've also received discounts in some gallery shops and half price entry to exhibitions at Tate Liverpool. 

The benefit of the pass has been so much more than getting free or reduced price entrance to various exhibitions though. It has kept the idea of going to a museum or gallery in our mind wherever we go - even when the place is free entry, we're just more aware of the choice we have. It's opened up the places we travel to too. 

Before we went to Bowes we thought it would be much too far to do in one day, but it wasn't. A long day yes, but not impossible. A few weeks ago the latest magazine plopped through the door (as well as the pass you receive a book with all the various galleries and discounts and a quarterly magazine). In with the magazine there was a leaflet outlining the various upcoming talks and one jumped out at me. A talk about "Art and Optimism in 1950's Britain" at mima. I didn't even know there was a modern art gallery in Middlesborough. So we booked our place on the talk and we went yesterday.

It was brilliant. I loved the setting of the gallery, the curator was excellent, the artwork was fantastic - there were pieces from Lucien Freud, LS Lowry, Anthony Caro, Francis Bacon and others, plus a small section about the Festival of Britain. the best part for me was something I didn't know about at all. I love New Towns, having grown up in one, and hearing all about Peterlee and basic design was amazing, something new for me to explore. I'm now desperate for an open weekend so I can visit the Apollo Pavilion. Simple pleasures. 

After our visit to mima we wandered around the town, which I loved abd there was plenty to enjoy - I think Middlesborough may be the centre of street food in the north of England, I've never seen so many vans and stalls in such a small place! Then we looked at the map and decided to nip to Saltburn. I've seen pictures of Saltburn on so many blogs that my interest was aroused. It really was worth the visit, so cute, very nice hot chocolate and huuuuge sea. We would never have gone were it not for the art pass. I know this is pretty garbled, I apologise, but after doing the coast to coast trip yesterday I am worn out, and we still have to go to watch Widnes v Bradford this afternoon.   


  1. We visited the Bowes Museum a few weeks ago, when we were up in Yorkshire. I loved the swan and the tiny clockwork mouse. There was an exhibition on tailoring in the costume gallery which was good and also a neon light exhibition by Gavin Turk. I'd also narrowly missed an exhibition about Laura Ashley. Great museum, definitely worth a visit.

    1. The tiny mouse was my favourite thing, I liked their use of holograms to show both it and the swan working, we were in time to watch the swan in the flesh though.

      I have to confess there was a lot of the permanent collection that wasn't really of interest to me, but we fell on our feet with the temporary exhibition so I'd still say it was worth it. Plus Barnard Castle is nice for a wander around.

  2. I can tell by your enthusiasm that that buying a pass was the right thing to do. Who cares if you're worn out when you've had a brilliant day.
    Love from Mum

    1. I felt like one of the children you see on the prom at the end of a long day, I could have done with a pushchair to scoot around in!