Artist opens independent fine art gallery in Sunderland city centre
An international artist has returned to his roots to open an independent fine art gallery.
Ken Devine has opened Frederick Street Gallery on the corner of Frederick Street and Athenaeum Street in a building that was previously used for storage.
After months of renovations, it’s now a space to showcase Ken’s work, as well as those by other artists, with regularly-changing exhibitions. The first display, Coast, is inspired by the recent Tall Ships Races and features dozens of works inspired by the sea, from a wall sculpture featuring glass from Seaham Beach to paintings of fishing boats.
The new opening is a return to home turf for Ken who was born in the East End and, after being taken into care, was sent to boarding school in Surrey. He briefly returned to Sunderland to live in 1968 after leaving school and first got an eye for arts working for Binns, Palmers and Liverpool House as a window display artist.
It was a passion which led to him opening a picture framing gallery in Nottinghamshire with wife Bev, and becoming one of the first in the UK to qualify as a Fine Art Guild Commended Framer.
After 13 years of framing and selling other people’s work, he sold the business to concentrate on his own art, which led to regular exhibitions and sales of his work nationwide.
After living in France, he decided to move back to his birthplace after daughter Juli, who owns the estate agency Martin & Co with her husband Chris, suggested he use the company’s former storage space as a gallery.
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Ken, who runs the gallery from Tuesday to Saturday, said: “Things have changed since the last time I lived here in 1969, but I have to say I love being back, as does my wife.”
“At Frederick Street Gallery, which is Sunderland’s only independent dedicated fine art gallery, we intend to inspire, inform and showcase the finest original artworks available, as well as serving as a working base and studio for myself. Each exhibition will benefit from an online virtual showcase, which will have links to the artist’s websites. So you don’t even need to venture beyond your own living room, but, having said that, there is nothing like standing in front of an original piece of art.”
Current exhibition, Coast, runs until July 28. It’s followed by Above Beneath, a tribute to the region’s mining heritage, which features work by East Durham Artists’ Network and the Bearpark Artists’ Co-Operative.