White Elephant Gallery, 40 Euston Road, Morecambe, LA45DD – Visit Now
The term ‘white elephant’ conventionally denotes a extravagant, impractical gift that’s not at all easy to get rid of. Almost the exact opposite seems true of the White Elephant Gallery on Morecambe’s Euston Road, a radical art space that has set out to bring cutting-edge contemporary art to the seaside town, enhancing its cultural landscape – but risking disappearance if both locals and visitors alike hadn’t embraced the venture. Thankfully, they did; since the gallery’s first exhibition in 2018, the friendly, conversational atmosphere has resulted in packed exhibition launches and a visit from the Chief Executive of Arts Council England.
White Elephant Gallery was set up by Paul Kondras, a theatre scenographer looking for a break from working in TV, advertising and film, and Neil Wilson, a poet and therapist who ‘crashed out’ of what he saw as the increasingly corporate healthcare system. Project advisors and collaborators Oulan Nagardo and Rabo Karabekian offer an intercontinental angle – and together they help to deliver on the team’s aim to create a gallery on a par with any found in Antwerp or Bilbao to the town of Morecambe. The White Elephant Gallery has set its sights high from the very beginning, and has been delivering on this goal ever since.
The gallery’s core ethos is ‘locally rooted and internationally minded’. Its exhibitions – so far ranging from photography and installations to painting – are striking, conceptual and achingly modern, and its location right at the heart of the town’s shops, eateries and other cultural attractions. Only a nine minute walk from Morecambe train station, it’s a relatively new addition to a place with a long history – but looks set to be a central part of the area’s future.