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Drawn Together: Making art in historic buildings



During June 2013 the Festival of the North East assembled a vast array of events showcasing the area’s creativity, innovation and heritage. WMF Britain hosted a varied programme of family-focused events in collaboration with three of the North East’s most impressive historic buildings: Hexham Abbey, Auckland Castle and Durham Cathedral.

It was hoped that the programme would spur tourism and encourage cultural investment in heritage in one of the most economically deprived yet architecturally rich regions of the UK. The activities coincided with the celebrated exhibition of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham Palace Green Library which attracted over 97,000 visitors.


How we helped

044-largeFor the first stage of the initiative, four weekends of art activities were held at Auckland Castle and Hexham Abbey throughout June 2013. Each venue played host to two full days of activities across two weekends, inviting visitors to draw in their historic spaces using an array of art materials provided by WMF. With children at the heart of Drawn Together, our portable art carts filled with art materials proved a huge success, ideal for small hands to wheel around and lean on whilst working. Each weekend also had its own Artist in Residence local to, and inspired by, the North East and its rich heritage.

Our four artists, Judith Hurst, Chris Bowen, Helen Schell and Jen Westcott all worked in different media, using varying influences to each produce two unique works of art.

Everyone participating in Drawn Together was invited to enter their artwork into our competition for a chance to see it displayed alongside the Artists in Residence’s pieces at an exhibition in Durham Cathedral. Our panel of judges selected 40 artworks for display from well over 100 submitted. The selected pieces were chosen for their individuality and interpretation as well as artistic merit, and went on display in the Cathedral’s Galilee Chapel from July 22nd to October 2nd 2013. Many of the 97,000 visitors to the nearby Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition enjoyed our celebration of the very latest art inspired by the region’s heritage.

WMF Britain celebrated the Drawn Together initiative in November 2013 with an auction of eight unique pieces created by our Artists in Residence during June. All proceeds raised will contribute to the on-going maintenance of the WMF art carts and activities as a valuable educational resource in Hexham Abbey, Auckland Castle and Durham Cathedral.

Why it matters

untitled-88-largeThe Drawn Together initiative aimed to cultivate care for historic environments by engaging children. It contributed to a year of landmark cultural events throughout the North East. During June 2013 the Festival of the North East assembled a vast array of events showcasing the area’s creativity, innovation and heritage.

With thanks to the Paul Mellon Estate for their generous support for the initiative; the Festival of the North East, Auckland Castle Trust, Hexham Abbey, Durham Cathedral, our Artists in Residence, and to everyone who has joined in.