Arts Council England grant helps sculpt a cultural future for Kielder

A new project to expand the way art and architecture inspires visitors to Northumberland’s Kielder Water & Forest Park has received a major boost from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme.

A £49,300 grant from the Arts Council will help drive the ‘Explore and Create’ project, developed by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, to build on the area’s success as an award-winning cultural and tourist destination.

The project will explore new ways to bring together the natural environment with existing and future installations as part of the hugely popular Kielder Art & Architecture programme. It will also provide practical opportunities for creative learning, skills development and engagement with children and young people.

Building upon the existing partnership between the Trust and Newcastle University, there will be a focus on nurturing talent and providing opportunities for the development of creative skills.

With support from the Arts Council England grant, the Development Trust partners and art and architecture team will develop new ways to experience and get involved with the expansion of the existing offering, which includes permanent and temporary installations and trails.

Traditional and digital marketing activities will raise awareness of Kielder Art & Architecture among regional and national arts and tourism audiences.

Three new art commissions will also be created, while artists will be invited to submit proposals for a new permanent installation. The three planned pieces will be:

  • Kielder Discordant, an interactive exploration of Kielder’s past, present and future, aimed at children;
  • A Levitated Mass, which will provide a sculptural perch for the Kielder Ospreys, and;
  • Shapling, an illuminated sculptural screen that will be positioned within the Kielder Waterside lodge development programme.

Work will also be done to enhance existing visitor favourites, including Silvas Capitalis, also known as the Forest Head.

As part of the relationship with Newcastle University, a new wildlife hide is being created at Bakethin Nature Reserve, while a project for Calvert Trust Kielder will lead to the creation of a new outdoor activity area.

Kielder Art & Architecture Curator, Peter Sharpe, said: “This grant is a very important development for Kielder Art & Architecture and underlines the Arts Council’s commitment to the wider creative enhancement of the Kielder Water & Forest Park. ‘Explore and Create’ will build upon the success of the work we have already achieved and the knowledge gained during that activity.

“This very welcome funding from Arts Council England will help us to embrace fresh ways of thinking and allow artist involvement to influence future plans for the development of the Park.”

Lynn Turner, Director of Kielder Water & Forest Park, said: “As a major part of Kielder’s  tourism offer, the Kielder Art & Architecture programme needs to remain visible, attractive and interesting to visitors, as well as being  relevant to artists and architects.

“The ‘Explore and Create’ project, supported by this very important funding from the Arts Council England, represents a combination of new work, enhancement of existing assets, new events and activities, all coming together to create a future that helps Kielder to sit at the heart of Northumberland culture.”

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England said: “I’m really delighted that the Arts Council is supporting the ‘Explore and Create’ project through our Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme. This investment will go towards a number of exciting things such as developing new commissions, using digital technology to improve the visitor experience, and a learning programme for children and young people and people with disabilities. All of this will go towards building a more sustainable future for Kielder – with art and culture at its heart. ”

Arts Council England grant helps sculpt a cultural future for Kielder