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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Baltic art centre boss quits
Baltic centre for contemporary art, Gateshead
The Baltic arts complex cost 46m to build
The man behind the Baltic - Europe's newest contemporary arts complex - has quit as its director.

Swede Sune Nordgren steered the centre for contemporary arts in Gateshead, through its first turbulent year.

But he says he is taking up a post as founding director of the National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design, in Norway.

Mr Nordgren has spent six years on Tyneside and was influential in attracting millions of pounds in grants to get the controversial Baltic centre built.

The centre opened in July 2002 and was a major part of the Newcastle Gateshead bid for Capital of Culture in 2008 - eventually awarded to Liverpool.

The 46m project transformed the former Baltic Flour Mills, a disused 1950s grain warehouse, into an international contemporary arts venue.

More than 33m of its funding came from the lottery.

Mr Nordgren said, "I will be very sad to leave Baltic and the people of Gateshead and the North East region, who have so magnificently supported this project.

Sune Nordgren
Sune Nordgren has spent more than six years on Tyneside

"I am immensely proud of the way that the people of this region have taken Baltic to their hearts.

"I have been lucky enough to lead a wonderful and talented group of people, without whom the project would not have established itself so quickly and successfully, both in the region and on the national and international stage.

"The concept of an 'arts factory' is now well established, through the work of many great artists, perhaps best illustrated by Antony Gormley's recent commission, Domain Field.

"I am particularly grateful for the support of the Baltic trustees, Gateshead Council and the Arts Council.

"Although I will be sad to leave, I am obviously very excited by the opportunity that the developments in Oslo present and I am keen to take-up the challenge."

Richard Deacon, vice Chair of the Baltic Contemporary Visual Arts Trust, said: "Sune Nordgren has been an exceptional founding director.

"With his team, he established Baltic as an innovative venue for contemporary art at the very beginning of the building project.

"They have gone on to deliver a diverse and exciting programme which is both challenging and popular.

"He will be a hard act to follow."



Tyne 'art factory' opens
11 Jul 02  |  Entertainment
From Flour Mill to Art Factory
11 Jul 02  |  England

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