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  • Monday Closed
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  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
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Community artists from South East Northumberland to have work displayed at Woodhorn Museum

13/08/2022

A group of community artists from across South East Northumberland will have their work displayed at Woodhorn Museum this summer as part of a new exhibition celebrating the natural world.

Marking the culmination of a two-year project delivered by Museums Northumberland bait, The Bellwether Project brings together 26 members of the community who have worked with professional artists, INSTAR, to create new artworks inspired by nature, wildlife and the environment.

Their collective works – which include textiles, photography and illustrations – will go on display in the West Gallery at Woodhorn Museum from Saturday 13 August until Sunday 30 October 2022.

Rachel Adam, Project Director of Museums Northumberland bait, said: “We first developed the idea for The Bellwether Project as part of a series of creative consultation events with more than 130 people from across South East Northumberland. From this consultation process, the theme of care for the environment emerged.

“A panel of local people selected INSTAR (Trish Evans and Nick Humphreys) to work collaboratively and the group went on to learn new artistic techniques and create artworks inspired by local wildlife and the environment.

“Over the past two years, the group have worked together to create artworks that demonstrate their passion and connection to the natural world. The exhibition at Woodhorn Museum will bring all the work together in a powerful community-led event that highlights the creativity of people living in South East Northumberland.”

The Bellwether Project at Woodhorn Museum will feature a collection of ‘gang patches’; embroidered patches emblazoned with designs by the community artists. Each ‘gang patch’ acts as protest symbol for a cause close to the artists’ hearts.

A series of artworks in print, inks, pen and collage will also be on display, including early works developed as part of the project workshops that were inspired by bumblebees, wild flower meadows, and industrial landscapes taken over by nature.

A display of dramatic images captured by professional photographer Timm Cleasby will show members of the group wearing items of clothing adorned with their ‘gang patches’ in the coastal and woodland locations that have inspired them across South East Northumberland.

Rachel Adam continued: “This project has helped connect people to the natural world and forge connections in our local communities that have led to new friendships.”

A participant from the project said: “The Bellwether Project has the peppered moth as its emblem. Like the moth, our artistic talents unfolded, grew and flourished. INSTAR unlocked the box and set us free to see the beauty of South East Northumberland with fresh eyes. Our wings opened and the art flowed. We enjoyed field trips, zoom meetings and made lifelong friends. This project has brought us out of the darkness and inspired us through art to see a brighter future.”

In addition to the exhibition at Woodhorn Museum, there will also be a programme of creative artistic workshops taking place:

Bank Holiday Monday 29th August – Drop In Family Activities 
Thursday 8th September – Handmade Zine Workshop 
Thursday 15th September – Printed Poster Making Workshop 
Thursday 29th September – Charcoal and Pastel Workshop 
Thursday 13th October – Wild with Ink Workshop
Friday 14th October – Creative Rewilding Talk

The Bellwether Project marks the final project of the Museums Northumberland bait programme. Established in 2012, Museums Northumberland bait set a 10 year mission that more people in South East Northumberland were being creative, making decisions, feeling more positive and setting up their own creative projects and keeping them going.

Museums Northumberland bait is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live.

Rachel Adam said: “For the past 10 years we have worked collaboratively with people across South East Northumberland to develop new creative opportunities in the area.

“Museums Northumberland bait has supported people and communities to lead their own creative projects, building a legacy of cultural champions across South East Northumberland who we hope will continue to share their stories and experiences using a wide range of artforms.”

The Bellwether Project, part of Museums Northumberland bait, appears at Woodhorn Museum from Saturday 13 August until Sunday 30 October 2022.

About Museums Northumberland bait

Museums Northumberland bait works in partnership to support more people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring and high quality arts experiences. All projects aim to build a stronger future with the people who live here.

Museums Northumberland bait is part of the Creative People and Places programme and is funded by Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.

Our Consortium Partners are Museums Northumberland, Northumberland CVA, Northumberland College, Northumberland County Council (Public Health and Culture) and Queens Hall Arts.

Learn more about the work of Museums Northumberland bait by visiting http://baittime.to/

10 Years of Creative People and Places

This year marks 10 years of the Creative People and Places programme. We are celebrating its impact and success over the past decade, helping more communities enjoy high quality cultural experiences.

With £108 million investment nationally in the programme since its launch through Arts Council England in 2012, Creative People and Places projects have empowered communities across the country to take the lead in deciding what creative activities they want and need.

The projects have a wide-ranging, positive impact on individuals and communities in parts of the country where involvement in arts and culture is significantly below the national average. There have been over 7.5 million engagements with the programme – 86% of which are from groups with low to medium engagement with arts and culture.

Over the next three years, Arts Council England is investing £38.3 million in Creative People and Places through National Lottery funding, so more communities can choose the creativity and culture on offer in their local area.

Arts Council England is committed to supporting Creative People and Places projects in helping ‘everyone, everywhere’ enjoy creativity and culture as part of the Let’s Create strategy.