Studio Bursaries

After a regional call out earlier in the year we have the pleasure of introducing our two artists selected to each receive one of our Studio Bursaries as part of our Professional Development Programme in 2016/17. With support from our partners in temporary space East Street Arts each artist will benefit from 6 months of studio space, mentoring and access to professional development opportunities and visits. The two artists are Sarah Cooney and Cristian Fiscutean Rus.

Cristian Fiscutean Rus

self-portraitAbove – Self Portrait, Cristian Fiscutean Rus


Cristian Fiscutean Rus was born in Timisoara, in the west part of Romania, moved to England in 2011 and currently lives and works in Darlington. Cristian acknowledged his artistic talent in adolescence and attended his first art class after finishing secondary school, where he learned the basics of drawing and watercolour painting.


After moving to Kent, in England, Cristian came in contact with his first mentor, who encouraged him to pursue his passion and taught him how to paint using oils, a technique that the artist prefers and has continued using since. Cristian created portraits of iconic people as well as family members  and has a passion for bringing book scenes and characters to the visual world through his paintings, experimenting with colour and light.  Cristian embraces traditional art, creating recognisable images while using colour and specific brush stroke styles to create his own expression in depicting his subjects.


old-manAbove – Old Man, Cristian Fiscutean Rus

Sarah Cooney

sarah_cooney_santana_oiloncanvasAbove – Santana, Sarah Cooney


Sarah Cooney’s paintings use subtle orchestrations of colour, texture, lyrical gesture and abstract and figurative elements to translate atmospheres and moods that locate a sense of place. Painterly revisions accumulate on the canvas alongside traces of provisional marks rubbed away -in a process of sense making.


Sarah Cooney (b.1982 Stockton-on-Tees) completed her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London in 2008. She recently returned to Teesside following ten years spent living and working in London. She continues to develop her practice and her work has been exhibited in the UK and in Berlin, Brazil and Russia. Selected exhibitions include: ‘Making a Scene’ NN Contemporary Art Project Space, Northampton (2016), The Trouble with Painting Today’ Pump House Gallery, London (2014), ‘Copy’ Paper Gallery, Manchester, (2013), ‘Pretty Deep (inside your head)’ The Royal Standard, Liverpool (2009),  ‘Pale Blue and Green’ Permanent Gallery, Brighton (2009),  ‘Winter Salon’ Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin (2008).


sarah_cooney_sinta_oiloncanvas_40x30cmAbove – Sinta, Sarah Cooney


Stargazing Tents at Nightfall 2016

On Friday 14th October the culmination of ideas, planning, mentoring and designing came to fruition, in the form of Stellar Project’s Nightfall Event. The programme of installations and activities took place in Middlesbrough Town Centre, inspired by the beauty and wonder of the night sky.

Stellar Projects and Navigator North have collaborated to offer five emerging artists from Teesside and County Durham the opportunity to create site specific installations as content for a series of Stargazing Tents. Each artist has benefited from a bursary which included mentoring, workspace, technical and professional support.

Life on Mars, Caroline Devine


Inspired by the latest images of the surface of Mars, Caroline Devine created a piece of the Martian landscape here on Earth. Using a mixture of textile printing, sculptural techniques and manipulation of light sources to bring her vision of the newly discovered side of Mars to life.

Wishes, Rebecca Nicholson


The act of wishing upon stars has been around since the ancient Greeks and is still something that brings a sense of hope, wonder and magic today. ‘Wishes’ was based upon this superstition and looked at the wishes of the people of Teesside. The interactive installation invited people to write a wish upon the star and add it to the sea of fallen stars which fill the space.

Moment, Namita Vijayakumar


Moment, a light and sound installation inspired by the Northern Lights, included a sculpture that shifted various colours and emitted mysterious sounds in order to evoke its mesmerising atmosphere. Audiences stepped inside the tent and took the opportunity to take a moment, relax and enjoy an immersive experience.

Am I Still Functional? Hope Stebbing


Am I still functional? Explored man’s relatively recent venture into space. In a universe where cosmic leftovers litter the sky, audiences could take the chance to rummage through the barren landscape, immersing themselves in texture and light.

Infinity, Saud Baloch


Infinity brought the feeling of gazing into outer space into the intimate sphere of the stargazing tent. Inside, lights swirled around a dark centre, evoking in miniature a sense of the infinite depth of the universe, the vast collections of gas, dust and stars our galaxy is made of.

Special thanks to our project partners Stellar Projects. It was magical evening, with fantastic responses from visitors to the event.

All photographs taken by Jason Hynes