Here at The Customs House we showcase a range of visual art forms that reflect the work we do with our local community.
Please note we are not currently accepting proposals.

We have a number of exhibition spaces showing visual art at The Customs House.

  • The Port of Tyne Gallery
  • Upper Fusion Gallery
  • The Stairwell and Lower Fusion Gallery – shows work by our regular adult drawing group Drawn Together.
  • The Step Up Gallery – celebrates the amazing creative talent of children across South Tyneside.

Upper Fusion Gallery

Jessica Donnelly – The Borderlands

8 September 2018 – 25 January 2019

Preview event – Friday 7 September 6-8pm

It is human nature to tell stories and try to explain the unexplainable.  Early civilisations created enchanting creatures and immortal beings in order to understand, and share that understanding with one another. Jessica Donnelly is interested in the Folklore of Western Europe, and seeks to resurrect these archaic stories and give them new life through her defined linear imagery. She uses a range of media such as fineliner and drawing ink as well as acrylic paint, graphite and charcoal to create a monochromatic palette, often adding small blocks of colour to capture significant parts of the tales she is retelling.

Submerging herself within the rich history of mythology that is evident across the continents, her work pays homage to forgotten stories, history and folklore. Using elements from tales such as The Children of Lir, The Wild Swans and The Merrow, Jessica has created new imagery and opened up new stories.

The artist intends for these drawings to act as a catalyst, encouraging the viewer to explain the unexplainable and create their own enchanting creatures and immortal beings and hopefully, resurrect the art of storytelling within themselves.

Jessica Donnelly is an illustrator and artist based by the sea in the North East of England. She currently creates work from a shed at the bottom of her garden, underneath the shade of a large bushy tree. She graduated from the University of Sunderland in 2016 and is the winner of the Takeover Open Exhibition 19-25 years category. She is currently working on a new series of drawings depicting local legends from around South Tyneside.

Jessica Donnelly. The Borderlands - Swan.

Jessica Donnelly. The Borderlands – Swan.


Port of Tyne Gallery

Arts4Wellbeing Group Exhibition – Play 

Opens 4 October

What does play mean to you? Time spent in the garden? On the beaches? Play often make us reminisce about our youth and time spent with family and friends. The notion of play and playfulness is linked to childhood. David Lloyd George commonly viewed as one of the 20th century’s three foremost British leaders stated that ‘play is a child’s first claim on the community’ (1926).

Play is important. As  adults we continue to play given the right circumstances. Play encourages creative thinking. Play helps people process personal experiences or make sense of the world. Play allows us to explore new ideas and to develop communication skills.

‘Play’ is an exhibition by artists taking part in Arts4Wellbeing’s programme. Arts4Wellbeing is a grass-roots art organisation enabling people with learning disabilities and mental health issues from South Tyneside to take part in arts projects.’Play’ is a celebration of creativity and includes drawings, paintings, sculptures and textile work.

Arts4Wellbeing believes

Everyone has the right to lead a rich and fulfilling life and to have choices about how they live. With the right support, advice, information and opportunities, vulnerable people can live more independently, participate more fully in society and be given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Arts4Wellbeing is situated in the heart of the borough of South Tyneside and has operated since 1994, under its former title of South Tyneside Arts Studio.




Learn and Take Part

If you are a teacher and interested in completing a creative project or workshop with your class or CPD please see our Schools Learning Programme page.

If you are interested in joining the waiting list for our adult drawing class ‘Drawn Together’ please email the group lead artist Lesley Guy at