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Visitor Centre Exhibitions

Durham University Botanic Garden has a rich connection with artists and their work, with many sculptures hidden around the garden. To this end we utilise the Coffee-Shop in our Visitor Centre to exhibit art, paintings and photographs by local artists.

We frequently host exhibitions of different artists’ work throughout the year. So after a walk around the garden why not ponder the paintings with a hot drink or over an afternoon snack? Many of the artists offer their work for sale, if a piece should catch your eye.

If you are interested in exhibiting work of your own, please contact the Retail Office by calling 0191 334 9357.

Alternatively, you can also book your exhibition through our booking form below by selecting "Botanic Garden" in the relevant field:

Book your exhibition

Current Exhibitions:

Here you can find details of current exhibitions being displayed in the Garden’s Visitor Centre.

May 2020 - Durham Photographic Society - EVENT CANCELLED

The exhibition to be presented during the month of May is by the members of Durham Photographic Society. This Society was founded in 1892, originally as Durham City Camera Club, and has run continuously in its present form since 1947. The club is affiliated to The Northern Counties Photographic Federation and is a registered charity. The members are all enthusiasts with many and varied photographic interests and of all age groups and levels of experience.

Twelve years ago the Society, in conjunction with The Botanic Garden, ran workshops and demonstrations in order to create public interest and each year since then it has been allowed to put up an exhibition of its members' work.

The Club has over eighty members. Because of the numbers involved, and in order to show a good cross-section of work being done, it has been necessary to limit the entries to one per member, totalling forty seven pictures. There is no particular theme involved and selection has been down to the individual to make their own choice.

It is hoped that the display will attract visitors to The Botanic Garden and perhaps that those interested in photography will be tempted to join the Society which meets on nearly every Thursday night throughout the year at 7.30pm at St Oswald’s Church Institute, Church Street, Durham DH1 3DQ.

Further information can be obtained at

June 2020 - Sandra Ellis, Houghton Art Group - EVENT CANCELLED

This exhibition shows the wide range of subjects that our members paint, using a variety of media. People, landscapes, animals and flowers are popular subjects, depicted in oils, water colours, acrylics, pastels and pencils. Local scenes are a favourite too.

July 2020 - Bridie Murray, People's Art Group - EVENT CANCELLED

The People's Art Community Studio is a small group of amateur artists who meet at Tanfield Lea Community Centre (the old Miners' Welfare Hall) near Stanley. There is a dedicated art studio at the Centre, and we are guided and advised by the resident artist, David Atwell, who will be exhibiting with us. We are constantly exploring new ideas and techniques, and our subjects range from botanical through urban and rural landscapes, to fantasy and space themes. We hope to provide something of interest to every visitor. This is our fourth exhibition at the Botanic Gardens and we would like to thank Durham University for kindly allowing us to exhibit, and Stanley Town Council who originally, and generously, gave us start-up funding to buy materials.

August 2020 - Rhianne Johnson

Rhianne graduated with a first class honours degree in Textiles and Surface Design in Summer 2017. After spending some time exhibiting her artwork and interning in London, she decided to take her dream of running her own creative business to the next step. Rhianne Sian Designs was later established in December 2017.

Rhianne's designs are mainly inspired by her travels and beautiful rural surroundings within County Durham, in the north east of England. She illustrates various artwork including wildlife, landscapes, architecture and florals. All designs involve various tages of development. Rhianne starts illustrating her inspiration, often using graphite, pen and ink, or vibrant paints. She then developes the artwork further by additing various layers of detail, texture and colour, to give a contemporary and stylised finish to her designs.

October 2020 - Stephen Bainbridge

Stephen is 70 years old and was born in Leicester. He taught in Buckinghamshire for thirty-six years before retiring to move to the north, initially living in Cumbria before moving to Newton Aycliffe where he now lives with his wife Shelagh.

Stephen has worked with acrylic and watercolour for forty years, initially developing techniques under the tutelage of the professional artist Noel Gregory. His pictures often reflect his lifelong passion for the days of steam railways, but he also has produced works of other technical subjects and landscapes. His works have also featured in magazines and have been used in historical text books. In his studies he always aims to produce paintings that are detailed and technically accurate, while portraying the atmosphere of the days of steam.

Following his successes in the south, his art is becoming increasingly well-known and recognised, initially in Cumbria with exhibitions in Appleby and Carlisle, and now in County Durham and the north east.

Having spent many happy hours at Peterborough and Grantham in his youth, Stephen has a particular interest in Sir Nigel Gresley and his locomotives and has produced Christmas cards for the Gresley Society. He is a member of the LNER Society and the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Group. Stephen is also a member of the North York Moors Railway.

He has recently completed a study for the P2 Group of 2007 'Prince of Wales', currently under construction at Darlington. Following this success Stephen has also completed a further work displaying 'Tornado' and the locomotives they are planning to construct. He is also an active member of the Shildon Model Railway Society.