art largeThey say a picture can paint a thousand words, but artist Aidan Doyle is painting THE Word.

Aidan has spent months documenting construction of The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, on canvas.

He has created scores of pencil sketches and oil paintings which capture workers building the stunning cultural venue in South Tyneside.

The Word is the jewel in the crown of the first phase of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and its partner Muse Developments.

Aidan said: “It’s such an exciting project and I’ve really enjoyed meeting and listening to the stories of the people involved in the building work.

“There is a real buzz among the construction workers because it’s such an innovative, high-end specification.

“I’ve tried to capture their interest and enthusiasm in the sketches and paintings, as well as the curves, space and perspective of the architecture.”

Main phase one contractor, Bowmer and Kirkland, has already completed the external structure and work is progressing at a pace to fit out the interior of the innovative building.

The cultural centre, which incorporates library and digitial media space, will boast an impressive range of facilities including exhibition space, a computer gaming area, a design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children’s immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant and terrace providing stunning views over the river.

Aidan’s works, which are part of the ‘Arts in Libraries’ project, funded by Arts Council England and managed by South Tyneside Council and The Customs House, will eventually be displayed in The Word after it opens this Autumn.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “Aidan’s drawings and paintings capture wonderfully the construction of this truly iconic building which epitomises the transformation of South Shields town centre.

“We are extremely proud of The Word, which will have both regional and national significance and really put the Borough on the map as a cultural destination.

“I am very much looking forward to the opening this Autumn. We will have world-class exhibitions that will provide a superb visitor experience.”

The Word will offer an inspirational and exciting celebration of the written word through a rolling programme of high quality exhibitions, events and workshops.

It will also provide a home for North East writers. Working with New Writing North, the venue will nurture new writing talent and engage a broad range of audiences in the work of a series of writers in residence.