The Beacon Shopping Centre in North Shields will be hosting an exhibition of student art designs to commemorate the unveiling of its new branding and the completion of the centre’s £500,000 refurbishment. 

The art exhibition will feature a selection of contemporary paintings, created by more than 15 Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) Fine Art students at Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet). The exhibition will include a diverse collection of works, including oil on canvas and mixed media paintings, mainly focusing on local sightings and landmarks in the area.

 The exhibition will be officially inaugurated by Norma Redfearn, Mayor of North Tyneside, at 2pm on 22nd October at a ceremony to mark the launch of centre’s new brand identity and completion of its refurbishment. The event will also include mini-workshops for those interested in learning painting skills and techniques.

Owner of The Beacon Shopping Centre, NewRiver Retail, which acquired the shopping centre in 2013, has invested in upgrades to the centre, which include new lighting to provide customers with a brighter and modernised shopping experience, new heating systems above all external doors, giving shoppers a warm welcome into The Beacon and new flooring to revitalise the centre’s original tiles.

The iconic clock tower at The Beacon, which can be seen from across North Shields town centre, has also been restored with new cladding and the external walls have been fitted with new buff cladding, brightening the exterior of the centre. To accompany the refreshed look, the shopping centre has introduced new modern signage and a revived identity for the centre.

Emma Mackenzie, Director at NewRiver Retail, said: “By modernising the look and feel of The Beacon, we have invested in the future of the shopping centre and North Shields. As The Beacon is located in the heart of town, we recognised the importance of providing a welcoming central place for the community to meet and shop. The refurbishment has really given the centre a facelift and the enhancements will provide an enhanced shopping offer for our customers.”

David Menzies, Centre Manager, said: “We are excited to showcase the unique collection of art produced by the students at TyneMet College, as it is representative of the artistic flair that exists within our community. The Beacon takes pride in being able to provide young artists with a platform to display some of their best work, bringing this diverse and vibrant gallery of paintings, as well as their talent and skills, to the community of North Shields.”

 Dr John O'Rourke, Art Teacher at TyneMet College’s Creative Studios, said: “Our students have stunning art portfolios, and they are absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to have some of their work on display at The Beacon Shopping Centre. Being from the area, the centre holds a very special place in our hearts. As a local institution, we are really pleased to have the kind of support that has come from our partnership with the Beacon in the community.”

Fred Wilson, one of the HND Fine Art students whose work will be exhibited at The Beacon, said: “I am really looking forward to the exhibit and grateful to The Beacon for giving me this platform. It is such a fantastic feeling to know that my work will be seen by all the visitors to the centre and become part of a venue that is so central to the community.”

On the day, visitors will be able to access the event from the Northumberland Square Entrance of the centre.