An exciting commission is on offer for County Durham artists to create playful and interactive work for a revamped venue.

Bishop Auckland Town Hall will reopen this spring following a £1.5 million refurbishment by its owner Durham County Council.

This includes the creation of a new ground floor gallery space to continue the venue’s tradition of showcasing modern and contemporary art by local, national and international artists.

To celebrate the reopening, the council’s community arts team has launched a special visual arts commission, giving artists the opportunity to exhibit their work at the gallery from Saturday 18 July to Saturday 5 September. The team is looking for a concept that is interactive, playful, complementary to the space and appealing to a wide audience.

A commission fee of up to £4,000 will be available for the winning proposal to cover all materials, installation costs and artist fees. The community arts team also plans to develop family engagement activities to run alongside the exhibition throughout the summer, which will be funded separately.

Cllr Joy Allen, the council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Bishop Auckland Town Hall has a strong tradition of bringing playful, tactile, and large-scale exhibitions to the town every summer, creating a safe but fun environment for families to interact with art.

“Previous commissions have resulted in some wonderful creations and we cannot wait to see what artists come up with for the first exhibition in the new gallery space.

“The exhibition is part on a sensational line-up of activities and events taking place at the town hall in 2020. We are really looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors back into the building to see the many improvements we have made.”

Professional artists living, working or studying in County Durham can submit proposals, which must feature an element of new work but can also include existing creations or themes

Artists are encouraged to incorporate a variety of interactive elements within a range of media, including wall mounted and free-standing installations, still digital images, projections, sound, light, sculpture, textile, print, painting and drawing.

The gallery dimensions are 12.5 metres by 10 metres with a height of 3.3 metres.

Proposals should be submitted via email to by Friday 31 January and successful candidates will be informed by Friday 28 February.

Other improvements being made at Bishop Auckland Town Hall include a new library, café and shop, and more comfortable seating and modern facilities in the theatre and cinema. Bookings for events can also now be made online.

To find out more about events and activities taking place at Bishop Auckland Town Hall this year and to make bookings, visit