Central Art Gallery



Central Art Gallery hosts a varied temporary exhibition programme, you can find out more about the individual exhibitions on this page either by clicking on the titles below or scrolling further down on the page.

Calm During the Storm: Wartime and the Embroiderers’ Guild

22nd April – 1st July

EMBROIDERY has been proven to have a calming and therapeutic effect in times of stress, and never more so than in wartime.

“Calm During the Storm”, which is about to open at Tameside Central Art Gallery in Ashton, features items stitched by convalescing soldiers, their wives and mothers, and others touched by conflict.
Embroidery kept them occupied, soothed their anxieties and even allowed them to display their patriotism.

The earliest exhibits are sweetheart pincushions. There are also silk postcards, made on a hand-embroidery machine. These were sold to servicemen to send to loved ones back home.
From the Second World War there are needlework kits produced by Briggs and Co, under the Penelope brand, which were sold specifically for use by HM Forces. The work by disabled ex-servicemen is particularly poignant.

Some items were bought by the Embroiders’ Guild at car-boot sales, antique fairs and auctions, although these often came with no information. We can only guess who stitched them and what their stories were.
Magazines such as Stitchcraft feature in the exhibition as they published hints and instructions for making the best of wartime restrictions and encouraged knitting for the forces. Transfer designs were very popular, and magazines published patriotic designs for women to create at home.

Contemporary pieces also feature, such as a response to the Afghan War by Cobie Erskine and works by Lisa Earley, Fiona Rainford and Charlotte Sewell.

The exhibition has visited galleries all over the country since its launch in 2014. Embroidery from Tameside’s Manchester Regiment collection has been added to the display for its Ashton showing.


Tameside Open Art Exhibition

July 6th - September 9th

Calling all Tameside artists - the Tameside Open Art Exhibition needs you!

IT’S art for art’s sake as the 10CC song once had it. No matter what your ability or style is, so long as you live in Tameside you can exhibit your work at the Tameside Open Art Exhibition. It’s been running for more than 20 years and is special in that it allows any Tameside resident to submit work and have it displayed in a professional gallery setting.

Paintings range from traditional watercolours to more abstract oils and cover a variety of subjects. There are also photographs and examples of mixed media work. Most of the items on display are available for sale at reasonable prices.
Collections curator Garry Smith said: “The Tameside Open Art Exhibition is a very special event. Even though a lot of the work is provided by amateurs, viewers never fail to be impressed by the skill and imagination of the entries.

“Opportunities like this are very rare and that’s why we want as many artists as possible, whether they are amateur or professional, to send us their work so we can proudly exhibit the considerable artistic talents we know so many Tamesiders possess.” 
Submissions run from Saturday, June 24, until Saturday, July 1. Application forms are available from Tameside Central Art Gallery, Old Street, Ashton, or can be downloaded here(0.04MB) .


The Rutherford Gallery


Gallery dedicated to Harry Rutherford
Permanent exhibition

Harry Rutherford was a nationally renowned artist who came from the Tameside area. His career was long and varied, working initially as a draughtsman and then training with the eminent artist Walter Sickert.

The Rutherford Gallery situated in Central Art Gallery is a celebration of a 20th century master, an artist whose talent allowed him to experience many avenues of artistic life. The works on display will span his entire artistic career. Many will have never been on public display before.

 View highlights of the Rutherford collection.

The Rutherford Gallery within Central Art Gallery

Northern Saturday by Harry Rutherford Woman visitor looking at the Gallery



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Central Art Gallery
Old Street
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0161 342 2650