An arts centre has invested £200,000 in Apple hardware and software.

Gateshead’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art - a £46 million conversion of a former warehouse - spent the money to help artists such as Alec Finlay realise their visions.

Finlay - one of the centre's resident artists - has produced with Mac equipment a series of 12 books exploring various themes.

Baltic's multimedia manager Tom Cullen believes the investment is "worth every penny".

The centre accommodates up to 50 Macs – including 29 dual-processor Power Mac G4s – and three Mac editing-suites, all using Apple’s Final Cut Pro video-editing software. Four Xserves also run the building's network.

Cullen joked: "PC users don’t even realise they're on a Mac network."

He added: "The Mac has incredible applications such as iMovie, iDVD and iPhoto, which for education is fantastic. We do family days here. Parents come along with their kids and we send them out with a digital camera.

"They go out snapping on the quayside, then come back, load them and animate them, make up stories, all in minutes. The kids can do something straight away, without waiting for it to render."

Cullen said "There’s a real synergy between Baltic and Apple. We want to do exactly what they want to do - make technology easy and accessible."