ANGEL of the North sculptor Antony Gormley paid a flying visit to Gateshead yesterday to present an award to Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art for being the United Kingdom’s favourite lottery-funded arts project.
Dispensing with formal speeches, he made a beeline for a group of eight and nine-year-olds clutching little models of his famous Angel of the North creation.
“That was made by Antony Gormley,” confided young Morgan Daniels to the celebrated visitor.
“Well, I am Antony Gormley,” the artist replied.
He told the youngsters from West Jesmond Primary School in Newcastle: “This place is fantastic. There’s nowhere else like it in the whole of England and you are part of it. Isn’t that great?”
Handing over a trophy to Baltic’s head of learning and engagement, Emma Thomas, he announced: “This is the National Lottery Award for the best arts project in Britain.”
The National Lottery enlists the help of the public each year to determine which are the most popular of the many projects it helps to fund in a range of categories.
Seven National Lottery Awards are then presented, each accompanied by a cash prize of £2,000, with the winners to be featured in a special programme on BBC One later in the year.
The public affirmation of Baltic’s continued popularity couldn’t be better timed, coming at the end of its 10th anniversary year.
Emma Thomas said the public vote made the accolade more special.