Innovative art project aims to attract new visitors to The Bowes Museum
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A PROJECT which challenges artists to come up with work inspired by The Bowes Museum aims to attract thousands of new visitors to the venue this winter.
Dubbed Untitled 10 #2019, organisers hope to repeat the success of a similar arts initiative launched last year.
Organised by The Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design, which is based at the museum, an open call for artists to take part was made earlier this year.
From the hundreds of responses, ten have been selected to work on their chosen pieces throughout the summer prior to an exhibition which will run through the late autumn and winter months.
Matthew Read, director for the Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design, said he hoped the pieces produced by the current crop of artists would make just as big an impact as those who took part in the first exhibition.
“We felt it was very successful last year,” he said.
“It is purely driven by the museum building and ground, its story, collection and archive.
“As with last year, we didn’t want finished work but work in progress.”
Mr Read said a diverse group of artists had come together for this year’s project, ranging from a LGBTQ activist to a cabinet maker.
Another member of the group, a textile artist, is taking as inspiration a story that appeared in the Mercury about a confrontation which took place between builders involved in the actual construction of the museum.
“We don’t know much about the people who built the museum and this artist is responding to that story by making a shirt that those present would have worn,” said Mr Read.
Another, who specialises in robotics, is preparing a modern interpretation of the neck of the museum’s famous silver swan automaton.
The majority of those taking part are based in the North East, with one from north of the border.
An exhibition of the artists’ work will be unveiled in October, this time running for four months – double the length of time compared to last year.
Mr Read said part of Untitled 10 #2019’s remit was to attract 2,000 people to the exhibition who would not normally come to the museum.
“This project is something The Bowes Museum would not normally do, so it is something that will prick up people’s ears. The artists also have their networks,” he said.
As well as offering something different to the museum’s normal fare, Mr Read said the artists also had the chance to benefit from being involved.
“Two of those who took part in last year’s Untitled 10 received grants from the Arts Council as a result of their involvement,” added Mr Read.