Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A SPOTLESS PERFORMANCE; Baltic Team Makes a Clean Sweep at Awards

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A SPOTLESS PERFORMANCE; Baltic Team Makes a Clean Sweep at Awards

Article excerpt


IT'S a work of art keeping the Baltic spick and span.

And the Gateshead Council team, who make sure the contemporary art gallery is always looking its best, have cleaned up at an awards ceremony.

The 11-strong team who clean the 3,000 square metres of artists studios, cinema, lecture theatre, library, offices, restaurants and five galleries, swept the floor with fellow competitors at the Kimberley Clark Golden Service Awards.

Taking the title for the best cleaned public sector building, the team were the only local authority nominees from a total of 77 finalists.

Millions of visitors have passed through the doors of the Baltic Gallery for Contemporary Visual Art since it opened in July 2002 and a host of famous names have exhibited their work.

And since the opening, Karen Pape has been on standby, mop in hand, to make sure the building is as stunning as the artwork it showcases.

"I love it," said Karen, 46, a mother-of-four and grandmotherof-two. "We don't touch the art, we clean around it.

"We are really busy, and changeover days are a nightmare, when they take down an exhibition to put up another. You have to see it to believe it - it's like a builder's site."

The team each work 15 hours a week, with one person on site in between times, polishing, dusting and scrubbing, using run-of-the-mill cleaning tools like mops, polish, dusters and vacuum cleaners but bringing out the heavy artillery in the shape of specialist machines to clean the slate floor on the ground floor and mop up any paint spillages.

Karen, from Windy Nook, Felling, Gateshead, loves the views from the converted flour mill, especially when the Tall Ships are in town but she has mixed feelings on the art.

"Some of it I like, but you get some strange art in the Baltic, so some I'm not so keen on," said Karen, who has also rubbed shoulders with some of the artists. …

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