Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Can You Follow in Keith's Footsteps?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Can You Follow in Keith's Footsteps?

Article excerpt

THE North East has always had a strong cultural identity but in recent decades its arts scene has undergone a startling renaissance. This region of heavy industry and sparsely populated countryside is now host to one of the UK's strongest cultural centres.

The most obvious signs of this may be the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, The Sage Gateshead, the Middlesbrough Museum of Modern Art (mima), rejuvenated galleries and concert venues and of course Antony Gormley's iconic Angel of the North.

But this region's creative wealth goes beyond this and there are hundreds of thriving arts businesses dotted about, from crafts workshops to publishers, designers to art dealers.

And we want to recognise and highlight the most innovative and successful arts businesses in the nebusiness awards organised by The Journal and Evening Gazette in association with Business Link.

The judges are looking for businesses whose main work is in the arts, not simply creative businesses, and last year's Best Creative Business Award winner exemplifies this.

Newcastle-based Kitchenware Records has been part of the region's music scene for more than a quarter of a century and has had a string of successful artists on its books, including local groups Prefab Sprout and Lighthouse Family as well as current indie favourites, the Birmingham band Editors.

Kitchenware was set up in 1982 by a then 21-year-old Keith Armstrong while he was working as a manager at HMV. The label was run by Keith and a group of friends at the back of the store in Newcastle and was publicised through a series of club nights the group held across the region.

He wanted the label to be Tyneside's answer to those that had grown up in Manchester and Liverpool and it has grown into one of the country's most successful independent record labels with an influence far beyond the North East. Best Creative Business Award is just one of 12 categories open to successful firms in the region and the prizes are sought-after accolades which help to market the company.

We will champion the most promising new businesses with a Newcomer of the Year Award. …

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