The new manager of a County Durham art gallery wants to breathe new life into the building, as he plans to recapture the intrigue and creativity of the local art scene.

John Thompson is the new temporary manager of the Bob Abley gallery in Spennymoor, taking over after 11 years of running East Art Collective in Eldon Garden, Newcastle.

The Bob Albey gallery features numerous works by mining artist Norman Cornish’s, who was born and raised in Spennymoor.

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The gallery also hosts a variety of work from other artists such as Keith Proctor, Walter Holmes, Peter Davidson and Swin Tempest; artists who have all helped build upon the culture of Spennymoor.

Mr Thompson said: “People are drawn to it by the incredibly emotive and evocative works of Norman Cornish but they are always surprised by the variety and array of styles of work we have.”

Mr Thompson has highlighted that the variety of the gallery is one of Spennymoor’s most treasured features offering local contemporary artists a permanent place for their work.

The Northern Echo: John ThompsonJohn Thompson (Image: BOB ABLEY GALLERY)

This includes twin brothers Chris and Steve Rocks, winners of the Fine Art Trade Guild’s Best New Artist award.

Now at the helm of the art gallery, Mr Thompson plans to expand on that variety of works, encouraging artists to contribute to the gallery.

This includes plans to transform one room into a studio for artists to work and inspire each other.

He also hopes to encourage volunteers passionate about painting to help stock the gallery.

Mr Thompson added: “I urge anyone inspired by art, creating art or simply with an interest in art, to get in touch with us and help us drive forward this fantastic Spennymoor gallery.”