The Port of Tyne Gallery at The Customs House showcases the very best of national, international and regional contemporary arts practice.

With a changing programme of around six exhibitions a year in our Main Gallery and the same number in our other exhibition spaces, it is the only contemporary gallery space that serves audiences in and across South Tyneside and is a key contributor to the Visual Arts Sector in the North East.

Gallery Exhibition Programme

We have four spaces where we show contemporary art:

  • Main Gallery – focuses on a programme of exhibitions by artists with established practices.
  • Fusion Gallery – shows work by emerging and early career artists as well as work from community projects and regional groups and bodies that we have developed relationships with.
  • The Stairwell Gallery – has been set up for work by young people and local amateur groups, who are passionate about their creative hobby.
  • The Green Room – shows work by artists who have an interest in commercial practice. As this is our bar and restaurant, it is the perfect space to show this form of art work.

Gallery Opening Times:
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 11am – 8pm

Main Gallery & Upper Fusion Gallery

Falling Flying                  

Karen Melvin

Join us for the public preview Friday 7th April 2017 from 6pm – 8pm. 

Attendance is Free

8 April – 21 May 2017

Karen Exhibition


Karen Melvin constructs imagery using photography, drawing, text and paint to look at our relationship to nature. Dead birds, little scraps of nature and found debris are merged with drawings from sketchbooks and found images. She layers these fragments of nature bringing up issues around sustenance and a disposable Earth. Finding and tracking the small insignificant deaths of birds in her garden, domestic “memento mori”, mirrors the complexity of environmental change and catastrophe.  She uses a scroll format, long sheets of hanging paper, presenting space in a different way. The fragments she collects present a multitude of viewpoints that she connects with washes of colour, allowing free flowing associations. She reimagines the idyll of nature, torn apart, reassembled, with themes of flight, journey and death.

The Gallery Exhibition Programme is booked a year in advance and is developed through a direct working relationship between the Gallery Curator and artist(s).

If you are interested in being part of our Gallery Exhibition Programme, please send a detailed proposal demonstrating why you would like to show with us, a selection of images of current work, an up to date CV and any relevant material to support your application, addressed to the Gallery Curator.

Gallery Learning Programme

Our Gallery Learning Programme includes activities events and projects for all age groups and abilities. We work with both the local community and formal education sector, hosting activities that range from artist talks, gallery tours, a drawing club and a series of creative masterclasses. We have recently received funding from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Community Foundation to develop YI, a programme of visual arts activities for 14-19 year olds. If you are an artist or educator and wish to work with us, please send your CV with details of the relevant teaching experience to our Gallery Learning Officer.

For the Gallery Exhibition Programme please get in touch with Esen Kaya, Gallery Curator

For Gallery Learning, please get in touch with Lesley Guy, Gallery Learning Officer