VISITORS are coming from all over the world to see – and purchase - the art on display at a North-East gallery, with numbers now averaging more than 1,000 a month.

The Bob Abley Art Gallery in Spennymoor Town Hall has seen a significant upturn in both visitors and sales, attributing it, in part, to the popularity of television programmes like Fake or Fortune, which attracts millions of viewers.

With art now being more available and affordable to the general public than ever before, it has become the new hot topic for conversation, as well as that special purchase that makes your home unique.

At the Bob Abley Art Gallery, people are taking things to another level, for both artists and the general public. By creating an exciting art and customer experience, people are coming in their thousands to enjoy, and to be able to buy a piece of affordable art that may, one day, be worth a lot, lot more.

Following the refurbishment of the art gallery - which has now made it one of the largest and best art galleries in the North-East - and the launch of the new ‘Social Art Exhibition’, sales of art have gone through the roof, with one example being a buyer from San Francisco taking five pieces of art work back home.

Many more visitors from places such as America, Australia, France, Spain and Sweden, have enjoyed the displays and taken a piece of art, from the region, home with them.

Colin Ranson, Facilities Manager, says: “Since the gallery started selling original Norman Cornish art work, on behalf of the Cornish family, and exhibiting a permanent collection of the wonderful Norman Cornish art, visitor numbers to the gallery have rapidly increased.  With the additional introduction of more art work from some of the region’s top artists, things have just gone crazy.”

The Northern Echo:

The new exhibition is based around social history art, with examples of art depicting industries such as mining and ship building, as well as telling the stories of the people who worked in these industries, and the roles they played. It also covers the places they lived and what daily life was like for them in those days.

The exhibition is having an incredible impact on visitors, with staff witnessing grown adults brought to tears as they recall how things were, and how the paintings tell the stories in such a beautiful way, whilst bringing back happy memories of their childhood.

As well as the Norman Cornish paintings, some of the region’s top artists are being exhibited, and available to buy, including:  Lou Harris, Sam Wood, Peter Burns and Bob Olley.

With prices starting from as little as £20, there are some unbelievable opportunities for everyone to purchase a piece of social history from their very own region.

The gallery is always looking for new artists who paint social history-type work, or people who are looking to sell their social history paintings. For further information, please ring: 01388 815276

Entry is FREE, with free all-day car parking at the rear of the building.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday 9.00-5:00pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm.