Anger as beloved Newcastle gallery announces closure due to funding cuts

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The gallery has played a massive part in showcasing documentary film and photography from marginalised voices.

Side Gallery has announced it will close to the public from the 9th April due to ‘critical funding cuts and the cost of living crisis.’

The documentary film and photography gallery made a name for itself by showcasing powerful and challenging work from often marginalised and hidden voices.

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An important player on the UK photography scene, Side has announced it will close permenantly unless it can crowdfund the funds to reverse its fortune.

The gallery is just off of Newcastle’s Quayside The gallery is just off of Newcastle’s Quayside
The gallery is just off of Newcastle’s Quayside | Wikimedia

The gallery said: “For over 45 years, Side has been a dedicated home to documentary film and photography.

“Side’s mission is to be an agent for change through commission, exhibition, and preservation of world-class visual stories that highlight social concerns and celebrate diverse lives & landscapes across the North East, UK, and the globe.

“Now more than ever, we must protect this vital and freely accessible cultural resource so it can continue to provide an essential public platform for these important stories.”

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The gallery found out in November it wasn’t going to receive its usual Arts Council England funding

Side’s small team are working tirelessly to try and secure additional funding which would mean it could eventually re-open, but not until September 2024.

They are also asking the public for help through donations and getting the word out there through the hashtag #SaveSide.

People across the UK have responded on Twitter by sharing what Side means to them in the hope of preventing permenant closure.

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One user said: “I have donated to this. The Side Gallery is a beacon of genuine artistic endeavour and achievement and heartfelt social conern and the moral and creative loss to the world through its closure would be incalculable.”

Major Newcastle band, Lanterns on the Lake, also voiced their support: “Always loved time travelling in Side Gallery’s exhibitions, transporting me to other times & places. Seeing & feeling lives from a different perspective is such an enriching experience, this would be a huge loss to Newcastle please share & donate if you can.”

The announcement of the closure comes just as the Baltic launches its exhibition on Side’s co-founder and first director Chris Killip.

One of the most influential post-war documentary photographers, Chris captured the stark realties of the North East.

Sadly, he passed away in 2020.

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Side is attempting to raise £60,000 so they can re-open in September 2024.

You can donate here and support them through their last day on Saturday 9th April.

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